This week, Los Angeles Democrat Maxine Waters was supposed to defend herself to Congressional colleagues against charges that she violated ethics rules. Instead, a committee has postponed the hearing and has suspended two lawyers investigating the case. Now, the Congresswoman is reacting to the latest news.
The real reason for the delay, Maxine Waters says, is that “something has gone wrong in the ethics process.” She’s accused of using her political clout to help a minority-owned bank in which her husband owned stock.
In a statement, Waters says the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct never told her it had removed the two attorneys heading the investigation from the case. Those lawyers were placed on administrative leave the same day the committee announced it was postponing the ethics hearing. “It seems their conduct was so egregious,” Waters says, “that the committee’s chief counsel wanted them fired.”
Waters wants to know whether the lawyers withheld evidence that suggest her innocence, or leaked information to the press. The 10-term Congresswoman says she’s long been concerned about what she calls the committee’s “unsupported conclusions, often contradictory arguments, and unfounded negative inferences.” Now, she says, it seems her concerns were justified.
The ethics committee has not commented on the lawyers’ suspension.