After a three-year long, costly and contentious investigation – the House Ethics Committee has finally cleared the Congresswoman of any violation
After years of unfair and unwarranted investigation, at taxpayers expense, Congresswoman Maxine Waters, was vindicated of any violation as a result of this costly and contentious probe. Last week, the House Ethics Committee stated that it would not charge her with any violations. The L.A. congresswoman has been operating under an investigative cloud for the past three years and had remained steadfast in the fact that she had done no wrong and whatever actions she had been accused of, was done in furtherance of her duties to her constituents as a Member of Congress.
As a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, she is now in line to become the ranking member of that committee. Rep. Waters was a member of that committee when the accusations of impropriety began; and she was also a member of that committee when she stated unequivocally and fully supported the financial bailouts that helped all minority-owned banks, at a time when the bigger banks were being bailed out because, as the prevailing wisdom was, ‘they were too big to fail.’ And that was within the scope of the work that she was elected to do, as a Member of Congress … work to level the playing field for minority communities in general, and for her district in particular.
Much earlier, it was learned that the process may have been tainted by the revelation of possible misconduct on the part of two of the Ethics Committee’s attorneys. And even though calls, by Rep. Waters and others, were made for the investigation to be dropped, the committee instead hired a prominent outside attorney, Billy Martin, to further investigate the matter on its behalf.
And it was based on Martin’s recommendation that the charges should be dropped and, according to the acting committee chairman, “ … because there is not sufficient evidence in the record to prove violations by a clear and convincing standard, which is necessary before sanctions are recommended in the House of Representatives.” Some had said in the past, “It’s just a witch hunt.”
Back then, Rep. Waters had stated firmly, “I am disappointed that the committee is once again postponing my hearing and showing a complete disregard for due process and fairness. For over a year, I have cooperated with the investigation and I have consistently asked for a public hearing on this matter. I remain eager to present my case and demonstrate to my constituents and all Americans that I have not violated any House rules.”
This she has done and the committee’s decision has validated her persistent denial of any ethics violation and/or wrongdoing.
Furthermore, the Congresswoman had also said, “The credibility of the House is reflected not only by Members accused of improper action, but also is reflected by the Members who sit in judgment. The public expects those who judge to hold themselves to their own rules. Today, the committee has brought discredit upon itself and this institution by denying me, and more importantly my constituents, the right to set the record straight. 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 was right all along.
Also, those who know the Congresswoman best decried the Ethics Committee and others who, instead of taking care of the people’s business, exert time, energy and resources on these kinds of meritless, time-consuming activities. These are some of the comments that were made by those who’ve worked with her, early in the probe, and they are just as appropriate and relevant then as they are today.
As senior pastor of the First AME church, the oldest Black church in Los Angeles, Rev. Dr. John Hunter, who had worked with Congresswoman Waters and was quite familiar with her work in the community said, “U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters has an impeccable record of public service and advocacy for under-represented communities. She deserves our full support, the benefit of the doubt, and the presumption of innocence.”
Bishop Noel Jones, the senior pastor of the City of Refuge Church in Gardena said, “We view people on stage from various vantages and most fall in the same category. There is no distinction as it relates to their exception from the pack. This does not apply to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, she is so far ahead of the pack, that I can grandiloquently say there is Maxine Waters then there is the rest of us. She is in a class by herself.”
Former Congressman and Lieutenant Governor, Mervyn Dymally, having been a member of Congress, not only knew the ins-and-outs of these kinds of probes, but he also knew the Congresswoman. He stated, “In my opinion, the ethics charges against Congresswoman Maxine Waters are a stretch. Members of Congress are advocates for the people and institutions in their districts; and are expected to do what Congresswoman Waters did. She was not present at the meeting. She and her husband did not benefit from the grant to the bank. So what is the problem? As former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she has my total support.”
The controller for the City of Los Angeles, Wendy Greuel, who has known Congresswoman Waters for many years and has worked with her added, “Congresswoman Waters has been a leader in our community for decades and someone I'm proud to call a friend. She has stood up and fought to create jobs for Angelenos and ensure that we get our fair share of federal funding. She has been - and will continue to be - a true champion for justice.”
Those who have worked with her are in the best position to comment on her character and, in addition to the individuals named above, are just an inkling of her overall support, and a clear demonstration of a well-liked and respected person and congresswoman.