Last Updated:November 28 @ 05:03 pm

6 of 10 on Ethics Panel Drop Out of Waters Case

By AP Staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — In an extraordinary development, six of the House Ethics Committee's 10 members Friday dropped out of the investigation of longtime Democratic lawmaker Maxine Waters of California, saying they wanted to ensure there was no bias in the case.

The recusal came in one of the committee's most troubled cases, as past allegations of bias by Republican members forced the panel to hire an outside lawyer last July to investigate the committee and its handling of the Waters case.

The committee's Republican chairman, Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, said the outside attorney, Billy Martin, requested the recusals. But Bonner said the recusals "are not based on any indication of any wrongdoing or inappropriate partisanship by the members."

Waters, a high-ranking member of the Financial Services Committee, was accused by the panel of trying to use her influence to obtain federal aid for a minority-owned bank where her husband is an investor.

During an investigation that has gone on for more than two years, Waters, one of the longest-serving African-American lawmakers, has consistently denied wrongdoing, saying her efforts were focused on helping a number of minority-owned banks that were in financial trouble.

In addition to the five Republicans on the committee, its senior Democrat, Rep. Linda Sanchez of California, also dropped out of the case — even though she was not a committee member when the allegations of bias surfaced. In fact, all five of the Democrats on the committee in 2010 quit the panel when Congress convened in January last year, saying new members were needed to take a fresh look at the Waters case. However, all five Republicans decided to stay on.

The five Republicans dropping out of the case were Bonner and Reps. Michael McCaul of Texas, K. Michael Conaway of Texas, Charles Dent of Pennsylvania and Gregg Harper of Mississippi. Replacements have already been named to allow the Waters case to continue.

The chairman said Martin advised the committee that, to date:

—He has not discovered any evidence to indicate bias or partiality.

—He has not discovered evidence that should cause a mandatory removal of anyone from the case.

—There is no conflict that would require disqualification of any current member or staff of the committee.

The six members, Bonner said, "believe that, out of an abundance of caution and to avoid even an appearance of unfairness, their voluntary recusal will eliminate the possibility of questions being raised as to the partiality or bias of committee members considering this matter." He said the investigation is continuing "in a fair and unbiased matter."

Replacement members are Republican Reps. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Steven Latourette of Ohio, Mike Simpson of Idaho, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Tim Griffin of Arkansas and Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes of Maryland.

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  1. wedeyComment by wedey
    February 17, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    The ones who dropped out, are gutless. They know she is guilty and don’t want to stir the pot.

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  2. emjeComment by emje
    February 17, 2012 @ 7:39 pm

    You have GOT to be kidding, right??? I am so sick & tired of gutless, spineless “Representatives”! I am sick to death of color being an issue in justice being served. Go back home with your spineless tails between your legs..

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    • IctheliteComment by Icanttakeanymore
      February 18, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

      You’ve got to hope that the voters who elected those that dropped out will try to get someone to represent them that has a spine.

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  3. teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
    February 17, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

    Maxine Waters has gotten away with horrendous actions and now criminal acts, solely because she is one of the protected class. I’ll never forget her arrogantly declaring that the bad housing loans were working so well that the only problem was that there weren’t more of them. This is a sick, vile, and evil woman.

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  4. Repossess AmericaComment by Repossess America
    February 17, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

    Cowards, they do not want to be associated with them when the decision comes down. Afraid they will not be voted for the next term. Maxine Waters needs the book thrown at her.Just another typical “I am going to gets mine”.

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  5. SweetOlBobComment by SweetOlBob
    February 18, 2012 @ 7:18 am

    Looks like “Ol’ Flannel Mouth” is gonna get away with bailing out her hubby with our money. Maybe he deserves it for being married to her. — anybody out there want to volunteer to replace him ? ?

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  6. maximusprime1Comment by maximusprime1
    February 18, 2012 @ 11:16 pm

    There are no ethics left in the house. The romp and stomp steal all you can get mentality lives on. Think insider trading.
    Term limits are the only answer. But it will NEVER happen because the gravy train is too RICH and the power too hard to give up.
    In IL there is a state law that NO minority can EVER be redistricted out of office. In Chicago minority population went DOWN and the minority House Reps were protected and stayed in office. White republicans in some cases who just won elections had their districts re-defined to leave them out. Seems to me if whites CAN be re-defined OUT of office and minorities can’t they are a special protected class. So white R’s paid the price for the minority population going down. Does this man that white voters have LOST their vote will now have Rep. Luis Gutiérrez who promotes total amnesty for millions of illegal aliens and the dismantling of immigration law enforcement programs shoved down their throat? Since gerrymandering is alive and well and in full force in IL with a vengeance looks to me like someday all House reps will be minorities in a heavily white State. Does that sound fair to you?
    Justice will NOT be done. The protection racket will continue. Ethic investigations of D’s are a joke. Ethics investigations of R’s are Jihads of revenge.

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  7. thecitizenComment by thecitizen
    February 20, 2012 @ 2:19 pm

    This is just great. Just peachy! Now it will take ANOTHER 2 years for the new members to ‘get up to speed’ on all of Maxine’s artful dodges in this case.

    Meanwhile, the only person perhaps more socialist and corrupt that BO will get to continue to strut the hallowed halls, doing what she does ever so well: grandstanding and playing the race card at any and every opportunity, and of course, giving huge sums or your/my/our money to her cronies.

    Just peachy.

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