Posts Tagged ‘Maxine Waters’

Maxine Waters and holes

September 1, 2010

Remember the #1 rule of holes?  When you’re in one, STOP DIGGING.  Well, apparently Rep Maxine Waters (D-CA) never learned that rule.  Or can’t recognize a hole when she’s in one.

Already up on ethics charges for funky financial dealings, she is now exploiting FEC rules to raise big bucks from California politicians.   She charges for her endorsement on elections mailers.  This cycle alone, she has raised an astounding 59% – almost $300,000 – of her total campaign bucks through this skirting of the intent of the law.

“Friends of Barbara Boxer” paid $5000 for the privilege.  Gloria Romero, the former Senate Majority Leader running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, chipped in $25,000. Gavin Newsom, mayor of San Francisco and a candidate for lieutenant governor, and Kamala Harris, San Francisco’s district attorney and a candidate for state attorney general, have kicked in $45,000 and $25,000 respectively. Dave Jones, candidate for State Insurance Commissioner, invested $25,000.

From state assembly candidates to judges to city council members, city attorneys, school board candidates and even insurance commissioners, all are willing to pony up amounts far in excess of what the FEC allows. For a fee, she has endorsed 46 candidates and ballot measures.

According to the Sunlight Foundation, an FEC spokesperson said that:

money paid for slate mailers “…is exempt from the definition of ‘contribution’ and ‘expenditure’ under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA).” Like the interest campaigns earn from a bank account or investment income they might receive if they’ve invested in stocks, slate mailers are income to the campaign, usually categorized as “other” in FEC summaries and by other organizations that aggregate contributions data like the Center for Responsive Politics.

Further, Waters is the only representative (so far) to monetize her elected position in this way – but she has figured out a way to capture some big bucks. From the same article by the Sunlight Foundation, we read:

Waters’ unusual fundraising niche has proved lucrative. Most candidates rely on individuals, PACs or their own wallets (called self-financing). Other incumbents from the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation get 99.3 percent or more of their campaign cash from those three sources of funding, with the balance coming from other sources that include income like interest payments, returns on investments, transfers from other committees and reporting errors. For her colleagues from Los Angeles that fourth category of money—usually labeled as “other”—makes up between 0 and 7 percent of their campaign cash; Waters comes in at 59 percent.

Now that people know, instead of Waters backing off, I predict more California politicians will take advantage of this loophole. What do you think?


Waters facing ethics charges

August 9, 2010

Maxine Waters, the Democrat from California who is the second one facing federal ethics charges in the last couple of weeks has vehemently denied wrongdoing. She said she would rather defend herself at an ethics trial than admit to “something I did not do.”

According to the Hill:

The House ethics committee on Monday outlined its charges against Rep. Maxine Waters, who is accused of helping a bank in which her husband owned stock secure federal bailout funds.

The committee charged the 10-term California Democrat with three counts of violating House rules and the federal ethics code in connection with her effort to arrange a 2008 meeting between Treasury officials and representatives with OneUnited bank.

The panel said Waters, who sits on the Financial Services Committee, broke a House rule requiring members to behave in a way that reflects “creditably” on the chamber. The committee said that by trying to assist OneUnited, she stood to benefit directly, because her husband owned a sizable amount of stock that would have been “worthless” if the bank failed.

The committee also accused Waters of violating the “spirit” of a House rule prohibiting lawmakers from using their positions for financial gain, as well as a government ethics statute banning the dispensing of “special favors.”

OneUnited asked for $50 million in assistance to cover expected losses from the collapse of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but Treasury lacked the authority to grant the request, the ethics committee said.

According to the 10-page Statement of Alleged Violation, Waters “did not instruct” her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, to stop assisting OneUnited after she told Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) she would halt her outreach.

But Moore, who is Waters’s grandson, contacted OneUnited executives in late September, sending them publicly available draft legislation of a broad Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) bill that would have permitted Treasury to buy certain assets of banks.

In October, the legislation authorizing the TARP contained language intended to apply to OneUnited, according to Frank. The bank eventually applied for TARP funds and received $12 million in December.

The panel also reported that Cohee had previously hosted a fundraiser for Waters at his home and that he and his wife contributed to her campaign on “numerous occasions.”

The investigative subcommittee denied two motions filed by Waters: one to provide further clarification of the charges against her and another to dismiss the case.

The fact that her grandson handled the OneUnited matter for her raises even more ethics concerns, watchdogs argue. House rules bar members from hiring for their congressional offices nearly anyone with a family relationship, though not grandchildren.

“Congress has anti-nepotism rules, which sadly don’t rule out members from hiring their grandchildren,” said Melanie Sloan, executive director of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Public Citizen’s Craig Holman said, “The family and the business relationship is just so close — it defies credibility that he would be acting on his own without her knowledge.”

Waters plans a vigorous defense this week.

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