As TPM reported Friday, the House ethics committee has delayed the hearing of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) and is sending the case back to investigation, citing new evidence in the case.
Waters, in response, released a scathing statement saying the decision all but proves that she is innocent and that the committee’s case against her is weak. She also claimed that the new evidence in question is neither new nor damning.According to the New York Times, the new evidence is comprised of emails between Waters’ chief of staff (and grandson) and the House Financial Services Committee, which was working on language for a bank bailout bill in 2008. From the Times:
The e-mails show that Mr. Moore was actively engaged in discussing with committee members details of a bank bailout bill apparently after Ms. Waters agreed to refrain from advocating on the bank’s behalf.
Waters is accused of committing three ethics violations by helping secure TARP money for a bank, OneUnited, in which her husband owned stock. The ethics subcommittee that made the charges said she got language into the bailout bill that would specifically benefit OneUnited.
Waters has maintained her innocence, contending that she was trying to help all small minority- and women-owned banks. Complicating the case is the fact that a OneUnited executive was, at the time, the head of the National Banking Association, a trade group for minority banks.
“The Committee has had this ‘new’ document since October 29th, and it does not provide any new significant information,” she said in a statement. “In fact, the document shows that my office was working to ensure that Emergency Economic Stabilization Act assisted small and minority institutions. The document does not reflect any action on behalf of any specific company.”
According to the statement of alleged violation — the list of charges released by an ethics subcommittee earlier this year — Waters agreed to stop advocating on behalf of OneUnited after Rep. Barney Frank, chair of the Financial Services Committee, warned her it could look bad.
The matter will now go back to the investigative subcommittee, and a new statement of alleged violation will be released if they still find evidence of wrongdoing.
For more on the case, see TPM’s past coverage here.