Saturday, July 31, 2010

Maxine Waters Faces House Ethics Trial

Looks like Rep Maxine Waters, (D-CA) is in some hot water of her own making. According to The Washington Post, Waters is charged with violating House ethics rules by moving federal funds to a bank in which she and her husband have a stake. She insured the bank received TARP funds.

Waters is facing scrutiny for her efforts to arrange meetings in 2008 between Treasury Department officials and minority-owned banks, including representatives from OneUnited Bank. One of the sessions was geared toward ensuring that the banks received a share of bailout funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, and OneUnited got $12.1 million in TARP money soon after the second meeting.

Waters reportedly did not tell Treasury Department officials that she had personal and financial ties to OneUnited. Waters's husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank's board of directors and owned shares in the company worth at least $500,000. Waters herself had previously owned shares in the bank herself but sold them years earlier.

Waters finds herself in the same spot as fellow Black Caucus member Rep Charlie Rangel. Neither have agreed, to date, to settle their case before the trial by House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.

Waters was responsible in arranging meetings between OneUnited Bank and the Treasury Department to secure TARP funds. The result is that OneUnited Bank received $12.1 million. What Waters didn't disclose at the time was that her husband, Sidney Williams, served as a director on the bank's board and held shares in the bank worth at least $500,000. At one time Waters herself owned shares in the bank but at the time of the talks the shares had been sold.

Waters claims she was just providing a way for minority-owned banks to receive their fair share of government bailout monies.

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