A year and a half into the Obama administration, we finally have a bit of good news on the job front: employment among investigators looking into misconduct among Democratic members of Congress is on the rise. First we had reports of Charles Rangel’s questionable dealings, now allegations that Maxine Waters misused her official clout have come to light. What’s bad news for Democrats is good news for America. The more time that Congress spends investigating corruption in its ranks, the less time it will have to develop more neo-socialist programs.
In 2006, Nancy Pelosi famously vowed to “drain the swamp” when it came to corruption in Congress. As committed to environmental protection as the Speaker is, perhaps she realized that actually doing so would constitute a violation of federal wetland protection policies, so the swamp has grown in size under her leadership and corrupt congressmen and women aren’t any closer to being placed on the endangered species list. Maxine Waters stands accused of using her influence to help out a troubled bank in which her husband had a significant financial interest. According to the report filed by the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics: “There is substantial reason to believe that Rep. Waters may have violated House Rule 23, Clause 3 and House precedent regarding conflict of interest.”
The charges stem from a call that Waters made in late 2008 to then Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson after the housing bubble collapsed. The California congresswoman admits that she made the call, setting up a meeting between Paulson and officials representing OneUnited Bank. The minority-owned, Massachusetts-based financial institution had invested heavily in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and, like many other banks, took a painful hit when those two corporations went bust. OneUnited would later receive $12 million in TARP funds and the bank remained solvent thereafter.
The conflict of interest charges arise from the fact that Waters’ husband owned $250,000 worth of stock in OneUnited at the time that the congresswoman made the call to Paulson, after officials from OneUnited turned to her for help. Waters husband, Sidney Williams, also had been a member of OneUnited’s board of directors, although he did not hold that position when the call was placed. While Waters and Williams’ $250,000 investment represented less than ten per cent of the couple’s net worth at the time according to financial disclosure documents that Waters filed, it’s reasonable to assume that even an enlightened liberal elitist would be a little worried about protecting a six figure investment during an economic meltdown. So Maxine Waters did what any concerned citizen might do when worried about an investment gone wrong: she put in a call to the Secretary of the Treasury of the United States of America.
Waters, the ranking African-American on the House Financial Services Committee, sees nothing unreasonable or unethical in her actions. “[T]he suggestion that I could gain personally from one phone call made to assist the National Bankers Association in getting a meeting with the Treasury Department is not credible,” Waters said. “Even the OCE acknowledges that the meeting resulted in no action. Although it leveled the accusation, the OCE also failed to show that I received any benefit or engaged in any ‘improper exercise of official influence.’”
Pages: 1 2