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House Ethics Committee Resumes Case Against Maxine Waters

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AP

California Representative Maxine Waters has technically been under investigation for numerous ethical problems for the past three years. However, because Waters has done her damnedest during those three years to exploit as many legal technicalities as possible to try to get the investigation halted, it has dragged on endlessly. Today, yet another of her excuses ran out of mileage.

The Los Angeles Times reports:

The House Ethics Committee put its case against California Congresswoman Maxine Waters back on track Wednesday after finding that her due process rights had not been violated.

In the latest twist in an investigation that has gone on for three years, the committee acknowledged that its staff’s communications with only the Republican committee members during its investigation of Waters, a Democrat from Los Angeles, had "raised concerns about the appearance of staff partisanship." It also found that a committee staff member made "inappropriate" remarks during the investigation.

But a review by an outside counsel concluded that none of the actions violated Waters’ due process rights.[...]

With the due-process concern decided, committee members will now await a recommendation from their outside counsel, Washington lawyer Billy Martin, on whether to pursue the case on its merits. Waters, a South Los Angeles political fixture who won election to the state Assembly in 1976 and to Congress in 1990, was to face a rare trial before an ethics panel in 2010, but the hearing was put off to allow for further investigation.

Waters has been accused of intervening improperly on behalf of a bank on whose board her husband served and in which he owned stock.

These results are refreshing, but to those who have followed the case, thoroughly unsurprising. Discomfort with Waters' ethical problems transcends partisanship - indeed, even the liberal organization Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics and Washington (CREW) added Waters to their list of "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" after this particular conflict of interest was disclosed. From their profile on Waters:

In the midst of a national financial catastrophe, Rep. Maxine Waters used her position as a senior member of Congress and member of the House Financial Services Committee to prevail upon Treasury officials to meet with OneUnited Bank.  She never disclosed that her husband held stock in the bank.

Rep. Waters is an eleven-term member of Congress, representing California’s 35th congressional district.   She is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Rep. Waters was included in CREW’s 2005 and2006 Most Corrupt Report for unrelated matters, as well as in the 2009 report for her actions regarding OneUnited.

What's Waters' excuse? "The only reason my husband still owns those shares is that no one wants to buy them!" Listen below:

And here she is trying to refute the charges in a video provided by the Hill:

Now, who actually believes this? Waters claims she was "looking out for the interests of small and minority-owned banks" and questions why those same banks couldn't get a meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. In other words, she was just trying to level the playing field for all the poor victimized minorities whose banks were closing. We'll see how much pull that explanation has with the House Ethics Committee now that Waters' final red herring - that she was victimized by the evil partisan Republicans - has been suitably gutted.

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