By Emily Miller
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) was charged with three counts of ethical violations on August 2, but the Democrat-controlled House Ethics Committee refuses to schedule her trial. Republicans on the committee demand a trial this month, before the midterm elections.
HUMAN EVENTS found Waters walking alone in the underground tunnel from the U.S. Capitol to the House office buildings. When asked if her hearing on ethical charges will happen before or after the November election, Waters gave us the universal “talk to the hand.”
She refused to answer any questions about the ethics trial, including whether she would take a plea deal or comment on the Republican demands for an October hearing.
“At some point in time, you ought to respect my telling you ‘I’m not talking to you,’” said an angry Waters, after talking to us for only 45 seconds.
“Leave me alone, please,” she added, before storming off down the tunnel
Rep. Jo Bonner (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the committee, sent a letter to the Chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) to demand a trial for both Waters and Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.), who was charged with 13 ethical violations this summer.
“It is in the best interest of transparency and fairness to the American people, Representatives Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters, and other members of the U.S. House of Representatives that the House Ethics Committee stop stalling the resolution of the Rangel and Waters matters and complete these public trials prior to the November elections,” wrote Bonner on behalf of the five Republicans on the committee.
Waters and Rangel have both asked for trials before the elections, but the House Democratic leadership seemingly wants to avoid a public spectacle of their wayward members.
Bonner’s letter was in reaction to House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D.-Md.) statements on “Fox News Sunday” that the Rangel and Waters trials were not set “because of their own scheduling problems.”
“I think that needs to be resolved as quickly as possible. Obviously the members of the ethics committee are gonna have to make that determination. And they have their own issues to deal with in their own elections,” Hoyer told Chris Wallace on Fox.
“The Majority Leader’s inaccurate public statement calls for the Ranking Republican Member’s public correction,” Bonner stated. “Members of the Committee have repeatedly expressed their willingness and desire to move forward with public trials of these matters and have repeatedly made themselves available to the Chairwoman for October settings.”
Bonner called Hoyer’s statements “inaccurate,” adding that “the Chairwoman has repeatedly refused to set either the Rangel or Waters trial before the November election.”
“In past Congresses, Committee Members have returned to Washington during recess in an effort to conclude pressing Ethics matters,” stated Bonner on behalf of the Republican committee members.
Waters has been charged with using her official congressional office to financially benefit her husband, Sidney Williams. Waters’ husband owned a large amount of stock in OneUnited Bank, which was teetering on failure before it received $12 million from the government’s TARP bailout.
Mikael Waters is both the congresswoman’s chief of staff and her grandson. The Ethics Committee has charged that Mikael Moore “provided continued assistance to … that ultimately resulted in OneUnited receiving funding from Treasury.”
The committee charge against Waters is that “if OneUnited had not received this funding, Respondent’s husband’s financial interest in OneUnited would have been worthless. Thus, the preservation of the value of Respondent’s husband’s investment in OneUnited personally benefited Respondent.”
Maxine Waters can avoid talking the press about the ethical allegations against her. But, she will have to answers questions in the public trial by the Ethics Committee.
And, if Majority Leader Hoyer is being straightforward when he said the hearing should “be resolved as quickly as possible,” then the Democrat-controlled Ethics Committee should schedule the hearings this month, before the midterm elections.