Nancy Pelosi famously told us she intended to run the most ethical congress ever…
Never mind William Jefferson (D-La.) and his tin-foil wrapped lucre. Forget Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) evading his taxes. Gloss over Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and the Fannie Mae failure.
We can now add a new name to the Wall of Fame — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). From the New York Times:
“Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. [Waters’] husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board of directors until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the institution. Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators had been intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special assistance for his bank, federal officials said.”
What does the Treasury Department have to say about this?
““It is upsetting to me,” said Jeb Mason, then the deputy assistant secretary for business affairs at Treasury, whose office helped set up the meeting. “This is something that was potentially politically explosive and embarrassing to the administration. They should have at least let us know.”
Apparently, the representative from California “forgot” to share that her husband was a former board member of the bank and held hundreds of thousands of dollars of OneUnited stock. No comment has been forthcoming from Rep. Waters office. She has also declined to answer the questions of either New York Times or the Wall Street Journal regarding this matter, although it would seem to be safe to say that her comments from January that she did not know how OneUnited got a slice of the bank bail-out. I think most pertinent question would be why they got the money:
“The aid surprised some bank analysts because the bailout was intended for healthy banks, and OneUnited was then considered to be in precarious condition. In addition, it had been harshly criticized by regulators in 2007 for failing to give a sufficient number of loans to lower income residents in Miami, while favoring wealthier customers there. And the F.D.I.C. sanctioned the institution in October 2008 for “unsafe or unsound banking practices,” including excessive compensation for Mr. Cohee. The bank had provided him with a 2008 Porsche SUV and maintained his $6.4 million beachfront compound in Santa Monica. Calif., with views of the Pacific and a spa and pool.”
Intervening with the Treasury on the behalf of a mismanaged bank — a bank in which the Representative has a vested interest — probably wasn’t the reason that voters sent Ms. Waters to Washington.