Friendly Reminder: If Your Husband Owns Shares, Keep Your Chits to Yourself
Would anyone else like to have their very own House ethics committee investigation? We seem to be on a roll lately.
Representative Maxine Waters admitted to another House member in late 2008 that she probably would have a conflict of interest if she intervened on behalf of a bank in which her husband owned stock — but she did so anyway, according to a report released Monday by the Office of Congressional Ethics.
“She was in a predicament, because Sidney had been involved in the bank,” the report said, referring to her husband, Sidney Williams, and OneUnited, a bank in Massachusetts that was then on the edge of collapse. “But OneUnited people were coming to her for help. She knew she should say no, but it bothered her.”
Waters is trying to claim that she was actually trying to stand up for minority banks when she worked her little butt off in September of 2008 to get federal money to help save OneUnited and that it had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that her hubby owned shares in the bank. Pulling the race card, always a classy move.
Ms. Waters has argued that her communications with the Treasury Department were on behalf of the National Bankers Association, a trade group of minority-owned banks that includes OneUnited among its members.
But the ethics office report includes a series of e-mail messages and a letter sent to Ms. Waters’s office by top executives at OneUnited in late August and September 2008, as they first pushed her to call the Treasury Department to arrange a meeting on their behalf, and then discussed how they would handle the meeting, which was granted directly by Mr. Paulson after Ms. Waters intervened.
The investigators interviewed Mr. Paulson; he recalled getting the phone call from Ms. Waters, telling him that “she had some people in town who were important to her and they would only be in town for a day or two,” and that the Treasury Department should invite them in.
Mr. Paulson told investigators that Ms. Waters did not mention her family ties to the bank. The meeting was scheduled after Ms. Waters made clear it was urgent.
“You don’t use your chits for nothing,” Ms. Waters told the investigators in an interview last June. “You call when there is an important issue.”
Perhaps our friend Maxine will be more careful when exercising her chits in the future moving forward.