Maxine Waters Questions Strength of Ethics Charges

The House ethics committee has canceled the lawmaker's public trial.

By Jamilah King Nov 22, 2010

Following a chaotic week in which long time Harlem Congressman Charlie Rangel was found guilty of 11 courts of ethics violations, Rep. Maxine Waters is still waiting to have her day in front of the committee. The Los Angeles congresswoman faces two counts of ethics violations, and after the House committee abruptly canceled her public trial, the lawmaker accused the panel of having a weak case altogether, according to The Hill.

"The committee’s decision to cancel the hearing and put it off indefinitely demonstrates that the committee does not have a strong case and would not be able to prove any violation has occurred," Waters wrote in a statement on Friday.

Waters was charged over the summer with playing favorites by trying to steer federal bailout funds to OneUnited bank at the onset of the financial crisis, while her husband was still a lucrative stakeholder in the company.

The case has been referred back to the subcommittee investigating the matter, reports The Hill. A joint statement from Rep. Zoe Lofgren, who chairs the ethics committee, and Alabama Republican Joe Bonner, shed some light on what’s holding the case up — well, sort of.

"The committee voted to recommit the matter regarding Representative Maxine Waters to the investigative subcommittee due to materials discovered that may have had an effect o the investigative subcommittee’s transmittal to the committee," the two wrote in a statement.

Like Rangel, Waters has consistently pushed for a public trial in an effort to clear her name.

"For over a year, I have cooperated with the investigation and I consistently asked for a public hearing on this matter, " she said. "I remain eager to present my case and demonstrate to my constituents and all Americans that I have no violated any House rules."

Both Rangel and Waters’ battles were the two highest profile cases of ethical misconduct in what turned out to be a bad summer for black Democrats. Yet unlike Rangel, Waters planned to have an experienced legal team by her side, and they had allegedly already mounted an exhaustive defense.