California Congresswoman Maxine Waters has taken a virtually unprecedented step. She is challenging the House Ethics Committee to fully release the entire report on her alleged ethics violation.
The charge is that Waters used her influence to get the Treasury to funnel $12 million to One United Bank that her husband once sat on the board of directors of and had stock in. The bank is a member of the National Bankers Association, the minority banking assn. Waters asked the Treasury for a meeting with the NBA in September 2008. This violated the House code of conduct rule that states: Members ”may not permit compensation to accrue to the beneficial interest of such individual from any source, the receipt of which would occur by virtue of influence improperly exerted from the position of such individual in Congress.”
The ethics committee wraps its investigations in a thick cloud of secrecy. It literally takes an act of Congress to get the committee to publicly reveal the details of the case it makes against one of its own. That’s the case again with Waters. The committee completed its investigation, and published its eyes only report on Waters in August 2009.
In this exclusive interview with theGrio, Waters’ discusses the ethics charges against her, the targeting of Congressional Black Caucus members for ethics violations, the effect on the Democratic Party, her constituents, and this fall’s midterm elections.
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