Facing charges of House ethics violations, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Dec. 9 abandoned her efforts to have the House ethics committee investigated.
The action came two days after she called for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to launch an investigation into why a scheduled trial before the House ethics committee of Waters was abruptly canceled.
According to The Hill newspaper, Waters wanted to know why her trial was canceled on the same day last month on which two ethics committee attorneys were suspended.
But she reversed herself less than 72 hours later. “Upon the advice of my colleagues whom I trust and admire, I am not pushing for a vote on this resolution today,” Waters said in a statement, according The Hill. “In doing so, however, I am requesting that the committee set the record straight, on its own accord in a bipartisan manner.”
Her strategy, The Hill said, was to expose internal problems in the House ethics panel, which is known officially as the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
According to The New York Times, Waters contended that the postponement of her trial violates her “due process rights and the rules of the committee,” and believes that the ethic committee’s handling of the situation subjects it to “public ridicule.” She has denied any wrongdoing.
“From the beginning, I have been concerned with the Committee’s unsupported conclusions, often contradictory arguments and unfounded negative inferences,” Waters said in a prepared statement during her initial call for an investigation, according to the National Newspaper Publishers Association. “It now seems that these concerns were justified, as the Committee’s sanctioning of its own attorneys is an acknowledgement of flaws and failures in the Committee’s process and handling of my case.”
Waters, a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, was investigated over the summer for her role in the possibility of her providing assistance to OneUnited Bank, a Massachusetts-based minority-owned bank. As a result of the bank’s receipt of $12 million in federal bailout funds in 2008. Waters is charged with failing to disclose to federal bank regulators that her husband owned stock in the bank and had served on its executive board
Lawmakers explained that if a resolution authorizing the probe of the ethics committee had been implemented, it would have expired at the end of the year under House rules. Additionally, Waters believes that Democratic leaders would have halted the resolution through procedural moves for political reasons.
“We all know how a vote on a privileged resolution plays out,” Waters said, according to The Hill. “The leadership, for reasons which are both practical and political, would use a parliamentary procedure, either a motion to table or a motion to refer, to essentially kill the bill.”