Leaked Memos Confirm Suspicions About Maxine Waters Ethics Probe

Those in the Representative's camp say the new information proves the case to be a bungled partisan affair.

By Bryan Gerhart Jul 19, 2011

After details of the debacle surrounding the ethics investigation of Congresswoman Maxine Waters leaked earlier this week, her lawyer is calling for a swift end to the case. Politico’s coverage of now-disclosed House Ethics Committee emails and memos seems to confirm the suspicions of many who believed Rep. Waters’ case to be a bungled partisan affair.

The most recent controversy in the case is evidence that two top committee lawyers secretly communicated with Republicans during and regarding the investigations of both Rep. Maxine Waters and fellow Congressional Black Congress member Charles Rangel, who was found guilty of 11 counts of House ethics violations last November. Sharing evidence is strictly prohibited during House ethics investigations, as Ethics Committee members are the prosecutors and congresspeople the jurors in such cases.

Late last year, former staff director Blake Chisam told the now-resigned chairwoman Rep. Zoe Lofgren, another Democrat from California, that the improperly shared information "would have so tainted the proceedings that there would have been no option but to move to dismiss."

That’s exactly what Waters’ attorney is hoping to do.

Speaking in a statement about Politico’s recent revelation, Waters’ lawyer Stan Brand made clear that because of the committee’s misconduct, they "will explore all of [their] options to bring this matter to a conclusion." Brand says that the only solution to the matter would be immediate dismissal with prejudice.

"No other remedy exists to cure this misconduct," he continued. "Given that both current Members and staff are implicated in these documents, any other suggested remedy would lack legal credibility and would confirm an unprecedented level of bias against my client. Given this sample of damaging evidence of the Committees misconduct, we fully expect the Committee to act in good faith in this matter. If need be, we will explore all of our options to bring this matter to a conclusion."

Waters issued her own statement as well, saying that the affair flies "in the face of objectivity and should concern every member of the House." She continued, her choice of words blatantly expressing the misgivings she holds regarding the investigation. "Given what appears to be politically motivated and gross misconduct by the committee, the committee must immediately conclude this seemingly manufactured case."