Journalism in the Public Interest

Read the Ethics Findings for Rep. Maxine Waters


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Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat, will likely face a public ethics trial much like the one that Rep. Charles Rangel of New York will face.

The Office of Congressional Ethics, an independent panel, said it had found “a substantial reason to believe” that Waters may have violated House ethics rules when she used her position on the Financial Services Committee to arrange a meeting between Treasury Department officials and representatives of the National Bankers Association, a trade association for minority-owned banks.

Here’s what the ethics panel's report had to say about that meeting and her possible conflict of interest (read the full report in our document viewer):

The discussion at the meeting centered on a single bank—OneUnited. Representative Waters’ husband had been a board member of the bank from 2004 to 2008 and, at the time of the meeting, was a stock holder of the bank.

In 2007, reported the Los Angeles Times, Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, held at least half a million dollars’ worth of investments in the bank. The meeting between Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and the National Bankers Association representatives—most of which had connections to the bank, OneUnited—occurred in September 2008.

In October 2008, as we noted, regulators accused OneUnited’s management of unsound banking practices and excessive executive perks.

Nonetheless, in December, OneUnited received a $12 million piece of the bailout. Waters denied knowing about the bailout and has denied wrongdoing in this case. Both the Treasury and the bank denied that Waters’ involvement resulted in the handing out of the bailout money.

A 2009 L.A. Times piece, however, indicates that Waters knew she could have a conflict of interest, and told this to her committee chairman, Barney Frank:

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said in an interview Thursday that he advised Waters last fall to "stay out of it" because he knew her husband had served on the bank board.

Frank said Waters was concerned about the plight of minority-owned banks, as was he.

"She acknowledged that 'Sidney had been on the board. I could have a conflict here,' " Frank said. "I said, 'Fine, just stay out of it, I'll deal with it.' "

Waters has maintained that she did not violate House rules and criticized the ethics panel for drawing “negative inferences where there are none.”

“I am not convinced the process for investigating and examining House ethics cases is fair,” Waters said. Both Waters and Rangel are leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members have alleged that the Office of Congressional Ethics process unfairly targets African-Americans.

Of course this ethics committe is racist, everyone is racist, racist,racist——————do you disagree or question an african american you’re a racist,racist racist, racist——its a way overused term, try something new already. Time to be accountable for your actions, be an American first, you will earn some respect.
racist racist racist———

Well, How much money did Sydney make on his interests in One United Bank? Why isnt that simple fact being reported? How much of the $12,000,000 tax payer money was lost.

Well it does seem Ms. Waters put her nose in where she clearly should have not even after warnings from colleges and others.

I suppose the $500,000 to $1,000,000 possible loss is the silver bullet.

To call the investigations of Water’s and Rangel to be possibly steeped in racism is with out merit.

If you knowingly participate in an activity that breaks the house rules then let the hearings proceed.

I do believe there are others in the House of varied ethnicity who have made dollars participating in unethical practices.

One can not believe that Congress’ elected show up on Capital Hill as middle income or slightly above and come away millionaires and that they have in four+ years suddenly earned millions on the up and up.

I say clean the House (and Senate to).

If she is guilty, the she used her influence to help her husband make money illegally.

If she is not guilty, then the government gave $12 million to a bank that they knew was practicing unsound banking practices and excessive executive perks.

Either way, this incident shows how pathetic our government has become.

Well it is small potatoes compared to the corruption and abuses that went on with republicans during the Bush administration.  But it does look as though they are more likely to look for suspicious actions by Congress people.  But is it really only two Democrats looking guilty of something. What about all the republicans and their behavior that has not been lily white I don’t think.

This did happen during the Bush administration.  Since I like these two people I wish they would just retire now and go on with their lives.  It is not worth it to drag along and bring down their good records in Congress.

Ralph Chernoff

Aug. 6, 2010, 1:57 a.m.

Hold on a minute. Aren’t we missing something here? Something rather obvious, it seems to me, though neither the writer of this article or any of the
readers who have offered their comments on it seem to be aware of it.

The charge against Congresswoman Waters is based on the assumption that the meeting she arranged between her husband and Bush Admin. Treasury Scty. Henry Paulson resulted in an illegal payment to the bank he, her husband, owned a lot of stock in. But if it did, isn’t Paulson just as guilty as she is?

Didn’t Paulson have the responsibility to make sure that any money he doled out as Scty of the U.S. Treasury to any private party, be it a bank or anyone else,  is a legal expenditure? In this case, it was not. And how could Paulson not have known that ?

Both Waters and Rangel are popular representatives.  More than most, both have worked vigorously for their constituents over the years and that’s why they have been repeatedly elected. 

But it’s easy to see how they could have taken advantage of the under the table perks commonly available to elected officials. I believe in fact there are very few elected officials who have not done something self serving and borderline ethical.  Regardless of the current law, I believe taking money from industries you are in charge of legislating for the people presents a clear conflict of interest and until we get campaign finance reform, we’ll never succeed with reforming health care of financial services, etc.

I’d like to see Waters and Rangel fight back with exposing the level of graft that goes on in DC.  It pains me that Waters would exploit the bailout payments to banks by ensuring a bank she is familiar with would get some of that money instead of lead a fight against the bailouts, period.  Waters has a big voice and she could have been influential against that decision perhaps persuading others that the bailouts need to be directed to the American people who have been robbed by these banks relentlessly.

I’m beginning not to care about labels but actions. I want elected officials who will fight for people, not companies.

I watched many hours of Congressional hearings.
Maxine Waters is one of the few representatives in Congress who speak up for middle class America. The 12 million dollar from the bail out is just a fraction of what other banks received from taxpayers.
However the Big Banks did not and still not helping Main Street.
We all Know Wall Street Banks paid more in bonuses then 12 million dollar to their people. For what? Running this Country to the ground?
What is a big deal if she was able to direct this small amount money toward a small bank? Especially if this bank was able to help Main Street Businesses and saved a few jobs?

August 14,2010

Nothing surprise me about elected officials. Most of them think they are above the law and they will never caught——. This is a great sign specially for me and my case who I reported Congresswoman Watson, Senator Amy Klobusher of MN, Congressman Waltz of MN who knew about my case but failed to take action, and some of them lost my documents within their office——. I will have Sen. Feinistien office also to report very soon which will be next week. Her staff in Los Angeles, CA also lost my documents as before they transfer it to Sacramento’s office. Wow what is wrong with all these people?? What makes them think it is ok to abuse the little power that they have?
On one occassion when I was in MN, I stopped by Congressman Keith Allison’s office where I left a note with my name and phone no. I was never instructed not to ever call them etc. neither on the phone nor in person but half an hour after I left their office, I got a phone call from the Capital Hill police asking me not to ever get close to the congressman’s office if I get close so many feet I will get arrested etc. I asked the officer but that is where my doctor’s office is and the building is Urban League builiding where I plannning to involve acitvely——“Mom I am telling you if you get close you will be arrested—-”. This case was suppose to be investigated but of course do you think they will follow up with it no they didn’t. .

On another occassion I was at the capital Hill of MN trying to make apt with the Governor who was then Gov. Ventura and Attorney Hatch. I was chased out by the capital Hill officers. It was very scary.

Then came Gov. Pawlenty and Att. Swanson I tried again but this time by phone I was told not to ever call again by Chuck. I told him you suppose to serve the community not to abuse the office of the attorney or the public office, you don’t have a right denying me access to my attorney and I hung up. I was told Attorney General of the US (Attorney General Eric Holden is the one who can handle them. Now I am still waiting, so many things every where it is very difficult for me.
The sad thing is with so many cases that I have which is Federal case viloation of FMLA, HIPPA, Civic Right, Being denied health care, higher education, justice and social service—I still can’t find no advocate, journalists, activist, writer, film producer or singer.

I think for now since my case has been going on for too long, and they might be coming back and say “statue of limitation etc even though I have been reporting it——Justice for me is exposing it and to have a national dialogue on discrimination.

Of course it is discrimination what I was facing the last 15years.

So many discrimination even among ourselves—you have an accent, Yes I do and we all do the next thing i know is click. This has been going on for many years with NAACP different offices, Al Sharpton’s office, Jessie Jackson’s office——list goes on.

So, please those of you who have contact with Travis Smiley and of course Michael Parenti who is a famious writer and of course speaker, tell them they have something great here if no one in their offices told them how many times i called, Professer Conley west, Proffessor Gates, and other professors who I have contacted you—-I know you can do better than just holding on the paper or messages. after messages and swallow it like Berumda Triangle.

Yes, I have kept my faith all these years and will continue to do so but now I need your help, I don’t want to be ignored like I have been for so long. . Please do the right thing and treat me the same way you treat those others who looks like you. I am black woman, single mother, who God bless my child and is taking care of me while suffering with all this medical problems. I can’t continue this fight by myslef any more it is not about me anymore it is more than than.

Let us be united as human being without saying we are from this part of the world, sex orientation, gender, religious or non religious affilitation and social status in society.

What is done is done but still we all need to be hold accountable how we are treating others, not only elected officials or those who are on the public eye but each one of us.

Now I will leave all of you with one of my favoriate prayer “Others”

Lord, help me live from day to day
    In such a self-forgetful way,
That even when I kneel to pray,
    My prayer shall be for “others,”

Help me in all the work I do
    To ever be sincere and true,
And know, that all I do for you
    Must needs be done for “others”.

And when my work on earth is
And my new work in Heaven’s begun,
May I forget the crown I’ve won,
    While thinking still of “others”

“others.“Lord, yes, “others!”
  Let this my motto be,
Help me to live for others
  That I may live for Thee. ”

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