A House investigative panel has decided to charge Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California with ethics violations, raising the possibility of a second high-profile trial with political implications for Democrats this fall.
People familiar with the investigation, who were not authorized to be quoted about unannounced charges, say the allegations could be announced next week. The House ethics committee declined Friday to make any public statement on the matter.
Waters has been under investigation for a possible conflict of interest involving a bank that was seeking federal aid. Her husband owned stock in the bank.
New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel also faces an ethics trial this fall on separate charges that included failure to disclose assets and income, nonpayment of taxes and doing legislative favors for donors to a college center named after him.
Both Waters and Rangel are prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Dual ethics trials would be a major political liability for Democrats, forcing them to defend their party’s ethical conduct while trying to hold on to their House majority.
While Rangel is a former chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Waters is a prominent member of the Financial Services Committee.
Waters came under scrutiny after former Treasury Department officials said she helped arrange a meeting between regulators and executives at Boston-based OneUnited Bank without mentioning her husband’s financial ties to the institution.
So that’s two Democrats on trial for ethics violations. I wonder if we can get three before the mid-term elections?