Washington — Rep. Maxine Waters will try to turn the tables on the ethics committee Tuesday by calling on the House to launch an investigation into the panel’s suspension of two staff lawyers, including the lead attorney in the pending case against the California Democrat.
In a harshly worded, privileged resolution accusing the committee of denying her due process by postponing her trial and conducting business in a way that invites “public ridicule” and “contempt for the ethics process,” Waters will ask the House to vote on creating a bipartisan task force to probe the decision to place Morgan Kim and Stacy Sovereign on indefinite administrative leave.
Her resolution would force the task force to report its findings before the end of the current Congress in a few weeks.
Waters has long sought to discredit the ethics process, and her team clearly sees an opening to show that her case has been mishandled.
Ethics committee staff director Blake Chisam tried to fire Sovereign and Kim, who was leading the Waters investigation, on Nov. 19. But committee rules preclude unilateral dismissal of nonpartisan aides, and they were instead suspended.
The committee postponed Waters’ trial, originally scheduled for Nov. 29, shortly thereafter, citing new information that could impact the allegations against her, including e-mail correspondence involving her chief of staff and grandson, Mikael Moore.
Waters has been charged with three counts of breaking House rules over the actions she and Moore allegedly took to assist an association of minority-owned banks, including an institution in which her husband held $350,000 worth of stock, during the height of the financial crisis in late 2008.