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Waters Faces Ethics Charges

The House Ethics Committee today released details of its three ethics charges against Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, who is accused of helping solicit federal assistance for a bank that has ties with her husband.

According to the committee’s report, Waters called then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in 2008 to request a meeting on behalf of the National Bankers Association to discuss possible assistance for minority-owned banks.

A short time later, top executives with OneUnited bank — a member of the NBA — met with Treasury officials and discussed the possibility of federal bailout funding. During the ensuing weeks, Waters’ chief of staff and grandson, Mikael Moore, actively worked to assist OneUnited in its effort to secure assistance, which it eventually received in the amount of $12 million, according to the 10-page “Statement of Alleged Violations.”

Waters’ husband served on the board of directors of OneUnited from January 2004 to April 2008, and continued to hold thousands of dollars worth of stock in the bank, according to the report.

Waters has denied any wrongdoing. She received a standing ovation at an appearance Saturday at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles.

“No improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced, no case,” she said.

According to the report released today, Waters talked to Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in September 2008 about the bank and her husband’s prior board membership, according to the report. Frank told Waters not to get involved in the situation and that he would handle the matter.

But according to the report, Waters did nothing to stop Moore from being actively involved in the OneUnited matter.

Moore’s “continued involvement in assisting OneUnited created an appearance that (Waters) was taking official action for (Waters’) personal benefit, which did not reflect creditably on the House,” the report states.

The report also alleges that violated rules prohibiting members of Congress from using personal influence to benefit themselves and from the “dispensing of special favors or privileges to anyone.”

“Reasonable persons could construe (Waters’) chief of staff’s continued involvement in assisting OneUnited as the dispensing of special favors or privileges to OneUnited, and accepting the preservation of the value (of) her husband’s investment in OneUnited as a benefit under circumstances which might influence the performance of (Waters’) governmental duties,” according to the report.

KESQ News Team

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