Rep. Maxine Waters gets warm reception at home despite ethics charges

Maxine Waters at a press conference on ethics charges, August 13, 2010
Maxine Waters at a press conference on ethics charges, August 13, 2010
Kitty Felde/KPCC

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters visited South Los Angeles Tuesday, on her first trip to her district since a House subcommittee accused her of violating ethics rules.

The congresswoman stands accused of lobbying the Secretary of the Treasury in 2008 on behalf of a bank in which her husband owned stock.

In a speech to the Black Business Association at Southwest College in Los Angeles, she reiterrated what she'd said last week — that she was advocating for the National Bankers Association, a group of African-American banks in need of support during the economic crisis.

“And so did Maxine Waters create a meeting with the treasurer and the National Bankers Association meeting?" Waters asked. "You bet your bottom dollar I did."

The veteran Democrat lashed out at Wall Street and government regulators for failing to offer enough help to minorities and women during the economic crisis. But she said it's nothing new.

“We’re looking for some capital. We’re looking for investment in minority businesses," Waters said.
"They’ve never done it well, but it’s worse than worse now.”

Many people in the audience expressed support for Waters, who’s represented the district for two decades.

Eldridge Taylor Jr., who owns an employee training business, maintained that Waters’ lobbying for black businesses, even if they included one in which her husband invested, didn’t violate ethics.

“I look at it as my taxpayer dollars having a congresswoman advocate on my behalf.”

Political analysts say that despite the ethics charges, Waters, 71, probably will easily win re-election in November.