Rep. Waters Defends Minority Bank Funds

Ad Feedback  - Rep. Maxine Waters deflected criticism Friday for helping a minority-owned bank with financial ties to her husband, receive taxpayer money.

The California Democrat is under sharp scrutiny for possibly using her political influence to help the bank where her husband is a stockholder.

The bank later received $12 million in bailout funds after Waters arranged a meeting between OneUnited Bank representatives and U.S. Treasury officials. Her husband, Sidney Williams, is a board member and stockholder at the troubled bank.

On Friday, Waters dismissed the notion that she could have swayed the Bush administration's decision to give a piece of the bailout pie to the troubled Boston-based bank.

"Although both my supporters and detractors often refer to me as influential, the truth is that I had no influence on what Bush administration officials in the Treasury Department or other departments did," she said in a statement.

Waters said the minority-owned bank requested the meeting on behalf of its members.

The decision to provide bailout funds to OneUnited were "based on the merits of the bank's request, not based on anything said at the September meeting and not based on political influence," she said.

Waters is a senior member of the House Committee on Financial Services.

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