Ethics case against Rep. Waters to resume
THe case had been dragging on due to Waters' contention that her rights were violated by the committee's procedures.
Now the Ethics Committee has determined that the transgressions by committee staff were not serious and have resumed their investigation.
The decision by the ethics committee revives an ethics inquiry that became a major political headache for Ms. Waters, of California, and fellow House Democrats in 2010. Ethics investigators at the time accused her of improperly trying to facilitate federal bailout financing and do special favors for a Boston-based bank, OneUnited, at a time when her husband had stock in the company worth about $200,000.
The ethics inquiry has been sidetracked for nearly a year, however, after charges by Ms. Waters and her supporters that staff lawyers for the committee had themselves violated House rules in their inquiry and shown a bias against her.
Last July, the ethics committee took the unusual step of bringing in an outside counsel, Billy Martin, a former Justice Department prosecutor, to investigate the handling of the inquiry.
Finally, in response to charges of racial bias brought by Ms. Waters, who is black, the ethics committee leaders said in their letter that the investigation "revealed some evidence of insensitive remarks" by a former staff member.
But Mr. Goodlatte and Mr. Yarmuth said that while they considered these remarks "inappropriate," this and other problems identified in the handling of the inquiry did not rise to the level of denying Ms. Waters a fair hearing.
OneUnited also ensnared Rep. Barney Frank in its efforts to get TARP money. But it was clear that Waters was the driving force in Congress to bail out the tiny bank and the fact that her husband had close connections - and a lot of money invested - may end up costing her.