Rep. Maxine Waters Charge with 3 Counts of Ethics Violations

The House of Representatives Ethics committee has charge Rep. Maxine Waters(D-CA) with three counts of ethics violations on Monday.  Waters is challenge the charges in a trial in the House in September.

Waters who long serving congresswoman from South Los Angeles. Waters charged with interfering with requesting help with a bank that her husband had financial interest and was a member of the board of  directors.

Waters denies the charges:

In a statement, Waters said, “I have not violated any House rules. Therefore, I simply will not be forced to admit to something I did not do and instead have chosen to respond to charges made by the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct in a public hearing.

From AP via Yahoo News:

Persons familiar with the case said Waters is accused of violating:

_A rule that House members may not exert improper influence that results in a personal benefit.

_The government employees’ ethics code, which prohibits granting or accepting special favors, for the employee or family members, that could be viewed as influencing official actions.

_A rule that members’ conduct must reflect creditably on the House.

The persons were not authorized to be quoted by name on allegations not yet made public.

This comes on the heels of the 13 ethical violations against Rep. Charles Rangel(D-NY) for failing to pay taxes in a timely manner, failing to disclose ownership of property and income, owning a subsidized property in New York.

Timing could not be worse Democrats who could lose the House and possibly the Senate. Two high-profile trials could impact the upcoming midterm elections.

The GOP is seizing on revelations:

Republicans quickly jumped on the latest news. The GOP’s House campaign committee released a statement with the headline: “The Dirty Details: Ethics Office Reveals Waters Charges. Panel Has ‘Substantial Reason to Believe’ Dems Have Another Ethics Problem on Their Hands.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement via her spokesman  Brendan Daly said, “As we have said in the past about the process, ethics proceedings are a result of a bipartisan, confidential and independent process in the House.”

The Office of Congressional Ethics released the report:

That report said that in September 2008, Waters asked then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to have Treasury officials meet representatives from the National Bankers Association, a trade group representing minority-owned and women-owned banks.

At a meeting and subsequent follow-up activity through Waters’ office, the discussion centered on OneUnited Bank.

Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, had been a board member of OneUnited from 2004 through April 21, 2008, according to the ethics report. Her 2008 financial disclosure report said Williams had two investments in OneUnited valued between $500,000 and $1 million.

The report said Waters told Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, that she was in a predicament because her husband had been involved with the bank that needed help. Frank told the Office of Congressional Ethics, “She knew she should say no, but it bothered her.” Frank testified it was clear to him that this was a conflict of interest problem.

His advice to Waters was to “stay out of it,” the report said.

Waters defended her involvement in the bank by helping the minority community:

Waters said in her statement, “The record will clearly show that in advocating on behalf of minority banks, neither my office nor I benefited in any way, engaged in improper action or influenced anyone.”

She added that she fully disclosed her assets as required by House rules, “even going above and beyond the requirements by disclosing my assets at several Financial Services Committee hearings. In sum, the case against me has no merit.”

She said the accusations stem from her advocacy work for minority communities and businesses.

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