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Maxine Waters Ethics Hearings Still in Limbo

3:12 PM, Apr 7, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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The Washington Post reports that some Federal Deposit Insurance Commission officials cried foul back in 2008 when Democratic congresswoman Maxine Waters of California allegedly sought special treatment for a bank run by a close friend. According to internal emails obtained by the Post, one FDIC bank examiner called the situation a "travesty of justice":

The chairman of OneUnited Bank, a friend of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), had rendered it insolvent through lavish spending and bad investments, according to the examiners’ written accounts. But by the end of that year, after Waters arranged a key Treasury Department meeting for the bank, it had won a bailout loan and a unique exemption from the FDIC’s accounting rules.

“There are some really good people expressing very strong opinions regarding what they view as a travesty of justice regarding the special treatment this institution is receiving,” acting regional director John M. Lane warned in a March 2009 e-mail to Christopher J. Spoth, a senior FDIC consumer protection official.

The claim that OneUnited benefited from assistance organized by Waters — whose husband held substantial stock in it — lies at the heart of unresolved House Ethics Committee charges. A special subcommittee alleged last spring that Waters’s actions related to the bank had brought discredit to the House, a claim that she has rejected.

But whatever happened to Waters's ethics hearing?

Alabama Republican Jo Bonner was ranking member of the House Ethics Committee last fall when then-chair Zoe Lofgren, also a California Democrat, postponed the special hearing due in part to its proximity to the 2010 elections. Bonner protested the postponement at the time, saying he thougth the Ethics Committee would be "stained for life in terms of our inability to get this thing done."

Bonner is now the chair of the committee, but four months into the position he has yet to announce when the Waters hearing would be held. And it isn't clear when they might do it.

"Their policy is not to talk to press," a spokesman for Bonner said about the Ethics Committee. 

Until the hearing, at least, Waters continues to be a voting member of the House, a chief deputy minority whip, and ranking member on the Subcommittee on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises on the Financial Services Committee.

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