Maxine Waters Charged with Ethics Violations—AGAIN

“The committee said that by trying to assist OneUnited, she stood to benefit directly because her husband owned a sizable amount of stock that would have been ‘worthless’ if the bank failed.”

Earlier this month, the most fervent advocate of impeachment for Donald Trump was charged by The House ethics committee for several ethics and rules violations. Waters was named the most corrupt member of Congress in 2005, 2006, 2009, 2011, and now in 2017 by the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. This time, Waters is accused of helping a bank in which her husband owned stock in secure federal bailout funds.

The Hill reported that the committee charged the 10-term California Democrat with three counts of violating House rules and the federal ethics code in connection with her effort to arrange a 2008 meeting between treasury officials and representatives of OneUnited Bank. The panel said Waters, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, broke a House rule requiring members to behave in a way that reflects “creditably” on the chamber.

The committee said that by trying to assist OneUnited, she stood to benefit directly because her husband owned a sizable amount of stock that would have been “worthless” if the bank failed. The committee also accused Waters of violating the “spirit” of a House rule prohibiting lawmakers from using their positions for financial gain, as well as a government ethics statute banning the dispensing of “special favors.”

Waters is now the second Democrat who will be going to a public trial as soon as lawmakers return from the August recess.

Waters has vehemently denied wrongdoing and said she would rather defend herself at an ethics trial than admit to “something I did not do.” Waters has tried to put forth a motion to dismiss the charges, but the committee denied that effort.  Waters’ attorney, Stanley M. Brand, said the congresswoman has done nothing wrong.

“This committee asserts that Rep. Waters improperly used her position to ‘preserve her husband’s investment in OneUnited,’” he wrote. “Yet, after its exhaustive investigation, it cannot identify a single active step taken by Rep. Waters in furtherance of that goal.”

Waters is now the second Democrat who will be going to a public trial as soon as lawmakers return from the August recess.

Not the Only Democrat in Trouble

In July, the House ethics committee charged Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) with 13 counts of breaking House rules and federal ethics statutes. The ethics trial will further disrupt the Democratic legislative agenda. The ethics committee last week released a comprehensive report by the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) on Waters’ alleged wrongdoing in the OneUnited matter, but it did not outline the formal charges against her until a few days ago.

The panel’s investigative subcommittee, to buttress its case, released more information Monday, August 21st about Waters’ involvement with OneUnited and a meeting she helped arrange between the National Bankers Association (NBA), a trade group of minority-owned banks of which OneUnited is a member, and treasury officials. Three of the four attendees NBA invited had ties to OneUnited, according to the OCE report.

OneUnited asked for $50 million in assistance to cover expected losses from the collapse of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but the treasury lacked the authority to grant the request, the ethics committee said. According to the 10-page Statement of Alleged Violation, Waters “did not instruct” her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, to stop assisting OneUnited after she told Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) she would halt her outreach.

Water’s husband has a substantial stock holding in OneUnited. “If OneUnited failed, [Waters’] husband’s investment would have been worthless,” the subcommittee wrote.

The investigative subcommittee denied two motions filed by Waters: one to provide further clarification of the charges against her and another to dismiss the case. Waters’ grandson holds the paid position as her “ chief of staff.” The fact that her grandson handled the OneUnited matter for her raises even more ethics concerns. The House has rules that exclude members from hiring for their congressional offices anyone with a family relationship, though not grandchildren.

“Congress has anti-nepotism rules, which sadly don’t rule out members from hiring their grandchildren,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Public Citizen’s Craig Holman said, “The family and the business relationship is just so close it defies credibility that he would be acting on his own without her knowledge.”

On a side note, after ten terms in the House, Maxine Waters has been the primary sponsor of only four bills that became law. One might ask just what she has been doing since 1991.

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Jon Harris

Jon Harris is a former Army NCO, Sergeant Morales Club member, civilian law enforcement officer, and defense contractor with over 30 years in the law enforcement community. He is published in Army Trainer Magazine, authored regular columns in several newspapers, and is the author of the Cold War novel Breakpoint. His adventures as a security contractor in Afghanistan and Iraq can be found on www.dispatchfromdownrange.com. He holds a B.S. in Government and Politics and an M.S. in Criminal Justice and is currently completing his Juris Doctor degree.

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