First Charlie Rangel and now Maxine Waters
Image from Wikimedia Commons. Public domain.

In the past few weeks, Representative Charlie Rangel (D-NY) was charged with ethics violations by the House of Representatives. A Congressional hearing found he deserved reprimand, but little else. Just recently, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) has also been indicted by Congress for conflicts of interests. She has requested a quick hearing to clear her name of all charges against her.

Waters charged with conflicts of interest

Maxine Waters, a 10-term representative from California, was charged with ethics violations by the House of Representatives today. The charges were announced the previous week. It is alleged that she arranged for special treatment for OneUnited Bank, an online bank that her husband holds stock in, according to USA Today. The bank received $12 million in bailout funding. Among the charges are that she arranged for the bank’s representatives to be present at a meeting with Treasury Department officials to get bailout money. Her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, was also never told to avoid the potential conflict. Moore is also her grandson.

Hard to Rangel proof of innocence

On July 30, it was announced that Representative Charlie Rangel would only be reprimanded by Congress for 13 charges of ethics violations. According to the New York Times, charges included improper solicitation of donations, and omitting assets and income on tax returns. The investigation has been ongoing for two years. The House of Representatives and the Senate have protocols for expulsion or censure of members, but are rarely used. The last expelled Representative was James Trafficant, and no Representative has been censured since 1983. Senate censures are also rare; only four Senators have been censured since 1950, one of whom was Thomas J. Dodd, father of current Senator Chris Dodd.

Higher standards

Representative Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ), was quoted as saying that if Rangel was guilty, he should quit. She also stated that members of Congress needed to hold themselves to higher standards, including that the law applies to elected officials just as much as to citizens.

Further Reading

New York Times

USA Today

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