Waters wants her ethics trial before Congress adjourns

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., just concluded a press conference to denounce the delay of an ethics hearing

aimed at determining whether she broke the House rules in helping a bank secure a federal bailout.

She told reporters she has been “denied basic due process,” citing the fact that the ethics committee started their investigation 18 months ago and had announced the public hearing on the case 53 days ago before canceling it 10 days ago.

The House ethics committee announced earlier this month that it had received new evidence in the case against Waters and needed additional time to examine it. Waters was to go on trial before an eight-member, bipartisan ethics sub-panel over charge that she used her position on the Financial Services Committee to help secure a federal loan for a bank her husband helped to finance and operate. The new evidence includes emails that show contact between her staff and bank officials.

But Waters, who talked to reporters outside the committee room in the Longworth House Office Building where her hearing was to take place, said the delay proves her innocence.

“I believe this cancelation demonstrates in no uncertain terms the weakness of their case against me,” Waters said.

Waters is demanding that the committee reschedule the hearing to take place before Congress adjourns at the end of the year.

“I want this issue resolved immediately, and I want my constituents to know that the person they re-elected with 80 percent of the vote on November 2nd is doing exactly what they sent her here to do – fight for them,” Waters said.

Even though the committee is bipartisan, Waters would arguably fare much better if the trial takes place under the Democratic Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif.. In January, a Republican will assume the top position on the committee. 

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