Congresswoman Maxine Waters charged with 3 ethics violations

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U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) speaks at a news conference in Washington, DC on February 12, 2009. Waters has been charged with ethical violations.

A House ethics committee has formally charged Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters with three counts of violating House rules. The committee accused Waters of using her influence to help a bank in which her husband owned more than a quarter million dollars in stock.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct says the chief of staff for Congresswoman Waters, her grandson Mikael Moore, was “actively involved” in helping OneUnited Bank craft its request for federal help during the 2008 financial crisis.

The head of that bank held a fundraiser for Waters at his home and made several campaign contributions.

The committee says Waters violated the “spirit” of the House rule that says members cannot use their influence for personal profit. The Democrat from Los Angeles made the initial phone call to then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson requesting a meeting with a trade association of minority banks, including OneUnited.

An attorney for Waters calls the charges “exceedingly general allegations” based on “an unclear set of facts.” The committee report also acknowledges something Waters has said all along: that she “has a long history of assisting small and minority-owned banks.”

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