Ethics Panel Outlines Charges against Rep. Waters

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The House ethics committee formally charged Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. on Monday with three counts of ethics violations including charges she accepted special favors for a family member.

The case centers on a call the 71-year-old congresswoman made in 2008 to Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson to set up a meeting between Treasury officials and One United Bank. Her husband was a large investor in the bank which later received $12 million in bailout money.

According to the House Committee on Standards of Official, Waters violated conflict of interest rules.
The 10-term congresswoman from Los Angeles now faces the prospect of a trial before the ethics committee in the fall.

Waters, who has denied doing any wrongdoing, has asked the committee to detail the charges so she can defend herself.

"I feel strongly that further delay in the scheduling of the hearing violates the fundamental principles of due process, denies my constituents the opportunity to evaluate this case, and harms my ability to defend my integrity," Ms. Waters wrote in the letter sent on August 4. 

"I am confident that once the Subcommittee report is released and I am able to present my case, my constituents and all Americans will understand that I have not violated any House rules," she wrote.

Water's trial is the second to be handled by the ethics committee this year. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., is facing 13 counts of ethics violations including failing to disclose assets and income and delayed payment of federal taxes.

Both cases come at a bad time for Congressional Democrats as they head into to midterm elections in November.

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