Dem Maxine Waters Follows Rangel: Faces Ethics Trial

July 31, 2010

(ChattahBox)—This news couldn’t have come at a worse time for Congressional Democrats. On the heels of Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-NY) ethics trial, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) also faces an in-house public trial by her peers for alleged ethics violations. Waters advised the ethics panel that she planned to fight the charges about to be made against her, alleging she used her office to intervene with state regulators to help a bank her husband had an interest in. She denies the charges.

With Congress on its August recess, the two trials against Rangel and Waters won’t take place until September, just in time for a media circus as the November elections near. Republicans must be overjoyed at the prospect of making political hay out of the spectacle. Democrats—not so much.

According to Politico, the ethics panel had planned to announce the charges against Walters before the summer recess, but those plans are now on hold until Congress resumes.

“Her decision to go to trial appears to have postponed the release of the committee’s formal charging document, called a “Statement of Alleged Violation.”‘

“Congresswoman Waters has chosen to go through an adjudicatory subcommittee hearing, rather than accept any of the counts from the investigative subcommittee,” the source told POLITICO.”

The New York Times reports that two back-to-back public trials of Congressional members is unprecedented:

“The expected trial, coming just after the start of a similar proceeding on Thursday for Representative Charles B. Rangel of New York, would be a modern-day precedent for the House, Congressional officials said. At no time in at least the last two decades have two sitting House members faced a public hearing detailing allegations against them.”

“It would also be an embarrassment for the Congressional Black Caucus. Ms. Waters and Mr. Rangel are two of its most revered and long-standing members, and both have spent decades as key leaders in banking and financial services issues in the House.”

But Republicans shouldn’t get too excited, percolating in the upper chamber, is the criminal probe being pursued against Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), by the F.B.I. And all signs point to Ensign being indicted.


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