Maxine Waters Backs Off Call for Investigation of House Ethics Committee

Waters photoRep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has abandoned her efforts to launch an investigation of the House Ethics Committee, which announced it was indefinitely delaying its trial of the congresswoman in late November. Waters was charged over the summer with helping to steer $12 million in federal bailout funds to OneUnited Bank, a bank in which her husband held a considerable financial stake.

On Tuesday, Waters introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan task force to investigate the trial cancelation, which she claims was halted because the ethics committee had insufficient evidence that she violated congressional rules. But today Waters backed away from this measure, announcing that she wouldn’t be calling it to a vote.

The ethics committee has yet to explain the reason for the abrupt trial postponement, but there are indications it may be related to the conduct of two of the committee’s attorneys, who have since been suspended.

There have also been reports that the committee discovered a series of emails that may contradict some of Waters’ defense, adding to the delay.

“Upon the advice of my colleagues whom I trust and admire, I am not pushing for a vote on this resolution today,” Waters announced on the House floor this afternoon. “In doing so, however, I am requesting that the Committee set the record straight, on its own accord, in a bipartisan manner, with a joint statement signed by the Chair and Ranking Member,…[the] circumstances of the events that led to the discipline of the two attorneys leading the case against me.”

While Waters’ and her fellow Democrats still hold the majority in the House until January 1st, the congresswoman will face a much less friendly Republican-controlled congress if her trial resumes after the New Year.

Since her ethics case began, Waters has mounted an almost theatrical public relations campaign against the ethics committee. The congresswoman and her staff regaled reporters with a lengthy slideshow presentation disputing the ethics committee’s allegations in August. She has consistently maintained that she is innocent of all charges.

Alana Goodman is NLPC’s Capitol Hill Reporter.