Something About Waters (Does Not Compute)

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 13 2010 4:48 PM

Something About Waters (Does Not Compute)

Who was the target audience for Rep. Maxine Waters' (D-Ca.) press conference on her ethics charges ? It's Friday in August, with a depleted and bored press corps more interested in the fact that Democrats are furious at Waters for doing this than they are in her version of the story.

In previewing the defense she is expected to present at a rare publictrial before a panel of her House colleagues, Waters acknowledged thatshe called then-Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson during the financial crisis to set up a September 2008, meeting betweenhis staff and representatives of minority-owned banks. Three monthslater, OneUnited received $12 million in federal bailout funds.

But Waters said she set up the meeting strictly to better understandhow the financial crisis was affecting minority-owned banks in general."This is what I do," she said, citing "my life's work" in trying topromote minority-owned businesses.

"We are proud of our work. Our work has been consistent throughout the history of my career. We have committed no violations."

The Office of Congressional Ethics has said the discussion at the meeting, however, "centered on a single bank — OneUnited."

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My favorite detail from the LAT take: "There was no immediate comment from the Ethics Committee, though its staff watched her news conference on C-Span."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.