(WASHINGTON TIMES) The House Ethics committee has cleared Rep. Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, of any wrongdoing in a 3-year-old, conflict-of-interest case involving her work on behalf of minority-owned banks during the height of the economic crisis even though her husband had a financial stake in one of them.
The finding exonerates Mrs. Waters, but the ethics panel is still weighing disciplinary action against her grandson, Mikael Moore, who serves as her chief of staff. The case has lingered for years after allegations of prosecutorial misconduct within the Ethics Committee surfaced and delayed an initial public trial scheduled for the fall of 2010. The panel last year took the unusual step of hiring an outside counsel to review the allegations that the panel had mishandled the case against Mrs. Waters and then weigh the evidence against her and Mr. Moore.
The stakes were incredibly high for Mrs. Waters, who will be the highest-ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee next year after Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts retires. If the committee had found her guilty of any ethics violations, that could have jeopardized her ranking member status.