Ethics Inquiries Into Richardson and Waters

Laura Richardson has been playing with fire since the day she moved up from Long Beach to Sacramento, and her rapid rise to DC powered by her playing with mortgage debt always caused suspicion. For her part, Rep. Maxine Waters’ troubles are a bit less clear, and honestly, less convincing.  From the LA Times:

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that it had voted unanimously to establish panels to investigate whether Southern California congresswomen Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson had violated the law or broken House rules.

In its statement, the committee said it was looking into whether Richardson had received a “gift” or “preferential treatment” from Washington Mutual after her Sacramento house was sold at a foreclosure auction, only to have the lender take it back and return the two-story house to her. It also said it was investigating whether the Long Beach Democrat failed to list real estate, liabilities and income on her financial disclosure forms.

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Massachusetts-based OneUnited Bank received $12 million in bailout funds three months after Waters (D-Los Angeles) helped arrange a meeting between the bank and other minority-owned financial institutions and the Treasury Department. Waters is a senior member of the congressional committee overseeing banking. Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, served on the bank board until early last year and held investments in the bank worth at least $350,000, according to the congresswoman’s financial disclosure report.

Now whatever you can say about Rep. Waters, you cannot deny that her excuse on this one, that she has a long history of advocating for minority banks, was true.  She’s had her run-ins on ethics before, but she’s no John Doolittle squirreling money away.  Nearly every bank received bailout funds, and the $12 million hardly seems like a number that is out of proportion with the size of the bank.  But, in the end, this inquiry is probably for the best for everybody. Best to just air it all out and move past this rather than just hiding it away.

As for Ms. Richardson, well, there is a lot of bad looking circumstantial evidence out there. At a time when foreclosures are an all too common story, she was able to get her house back in a somewhat mysterious fashion. I’ll be very interested to see what happens with this story, and I’ll certainly be following to see if there is a serious primary challenger.

One thought on “Ethics Inquiries Into Richardson and Waters”

  1. Is a national treasure.  I hope she clears her, and her husband’s, namea, and quickly — so that she can get back to the business of protecting Americans from predation by the upper class of our nation.

    Long may she serve.

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