by Doug Book, staff writer
It was in August of 2010 the House Ethics Committee decided to proceed with charges against California Congresswoman Maxine Waters for contriving to procure “special favors” for the Massachusetts-based, OneUnited Bank. And although “Waters has done her damnedest during [these] three years to exploit as many legal technicalities as possible to try to get the investigation halted…” it now looks as though the jig might finally be up. (1)
In 2008, Representative Waters set up a meeting between officials of the Treasury Department and members of a “trade association” of minority owned banks. The meeting, however, consisted almost exclusively of OneUnited Bank executives who, to the surprise of the Treasury people, asked them for a $50 million dollar loan!
It seems the minority-owned OneUnited was in trouble. It also seems Maxine Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, was on the board of OneUnited and owned $350,000 worth of the bank’s stock–stock which would have been worthless if the bank failed. The Congresswoman forgot to mention this minor point to Treasury when arranging the get together.
Now who came to Waters’ assistance but Rush Limbaugh’s “Banking Queen,” Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. Advising the congresswoman that her involvement in the affair might not look so hot to the House Ethics Committee, Frank offered to do the dirty work for her as OneUnited Bank was, after all, in his district. Frank later told the Committee:
“I said, look, it’s a Boston institution. You should stay out of it. It’s a legitimate constituency thing for me. You should stay away from this. It’s a legitimate thing for me to do, and you shouldn’t be involved,” Frank told the Globe, recounting his conversations with Waters. (2)
Although it is against House rules to “use one’s power as a member for personal financial gain,” it’s apparently just FINE if one of your House colleagues does it FOR you. (2)
At this point, Waters’ Chief of Staff—and grandson—Mikael Moore decided to lend a hand. He addressed numerous emails to the House Financial Services Committee, “…discussing with committee members details of a bank bailout bill apparently after Ms. Waters agreed to refrain from advocating on the bank’s behalf. The bailout bill had provisions that ultimately benefited OneUnited…” (2)
In the end, OneUnited was the only institution to receive a bailout–$12 million—through section 103-6 of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008. And that, only after Barney Frank had personally telephoned Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on behalf of the bank– a call which Frank later claimed to have “forgotten.” Perhaps it was the heat which Frank believed might be heading his way after the Republican blowout win in the election of 2010 which prompted his sudden decision to retire. (3)
And now, after lengthy delays prompted by Waters’ unfounded claims of racism and violation of her due process rights, the Ethics Committee might finally get down to the business of charging this corrupt congresswoman with criminal abuse of the power of her office. (2)
It should be noted that Waters has claimed she only lobbied on behalf of OneUnited in order to “[look] out for the interests of small and minority-owned banks.” And here some thought Obama had a corner on the contempt-for-the-intelligence-of-others market. (1)
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This day in history June 12th
1987: While standing in front of the Berlin Wall, Ronald Reagan makes his famous challenge to Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”
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