Maxine’s Case

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News came out today that Rep. Maxine Waters is pushing vehemently to have the Standards Committee report on her case released asap and her trial be held before the elections. Given that Congress is coming back next week to vote on $27 billion in funding for first responders and teacher, there could be a window for the Standards Committee to start the same process it did with Rep. Charlie Rangel on July 29 — formally launching an adjudicatory committee and releasing the charges — for Waters.

If you read the Office of Congressional Ethics report on Rep. Maxine Waters closely, there’s an interesting timeline discrepancy. Most reports had assumed that her conversation with Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank — listed as Representative A in some places but as Barney Frank in others — happened before the meeting she set up for the minority bank association with Treasury. In the conversation, listed on page 23, Waters tells Frank she’s worried about a potential conflict of interest. Actually, according to testimony by her chief of staff on page 44, the Frank/Waters conversation happened after the Treasury meeting.

Once she learned that the number of banks that were possibly over extended in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had narrowed to OneUnited and another bank, Waters saw a potential conflict and asked Frank to look into the matter since it also involved a Boston bank, a Waters aide said. I asked Frank’s office and they said he doesn’t remember the precise timing but that this scenario “is plausible.”

If true, this timeline would significantly alter at least the perception of the charges against Waters — since no one yet knows exactly what the charges are. It goes from a member worrying about an indiscretion and then doing it to a member acting in seeming good faith and when realizing the potential for an indiscretion moving to avoid it.