The Real Maxine Waters Scandal

The real Maxine Waters scandal is that what she admits is worse than what she denies, but no one regards it as scandalous.

What she denies is that she “violated anything” in arranging government assistance to a bank in which her husband had a substantial financial interest.

In effect, Waters admits to the facts at the center of the House ethics committee report, which said that

Waters’s office improperly worked in September 2008 to press for aid to prevent the failure of Boston-based OneUnited Bank, which eventually stayed afloat with the help of money from the Troubled Assets Relief Program.

Waters’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board. He owned stock in OneUnited that had declined in value from $350,000 in June 2008 to $175,000 two months later and would have been “worthless” without the bailout funds, according to the ethics committee.

Waters contends, Politico reports, “that she would ‘never take extraordinary steps,’ to save ‘that amount of money.’” Her concern, she insists, was to help a group of black banks, not simply the one black bank in which she had an interest, and (now quoting from the Wash Post story linked above) she

attacked the media for covering her ethics scandals but not her longtime work in pressing for minorities to get more government contracts and other federal aid, which she says was the reason she aided black-owned banks during the financial crisis.

As Politico summarized her defense, Waters

did not seek special treatment for OneUnited but rather tried to gain access to treasury for an association of minority-owned banks that otherwise couldn’t have gotten a meeting.

In other words, so the Waters defense goes, she was simply practicing the sort of racial favoritism that is the day in, day out stock in trade of all Democratic politicians.

Indeed, as the Washington Post reports,

[e]ventually, the language in the TARP bill, which Congress passed in October 2008, included a provision that would aid small, minority-owned banks such as OneUnited, and the bank received $12 million two months later.

That provision, “designed to aid OneUnited,” the Wall Street Journal reported last March,

was written into the federal bailout legislation by [Rep. Barney] Frank, who is chairman of the financial-services panel. Mr. Frank has said he inserted the provision to help the only African-American owned bank in his home state.

In short, the real scandal here is that the blatant racial favoritism practiced every day, not just here, by Maxine Waters and others is not regarded as a scandal.

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  1. Cobb August 15, 2010 at 3:08 pm | | Reply

    Obligatory Seriousness on Maxine Waters & OneUnited

    There’s really one thing to say. It’s political. So it comes as no surprise that various political operatives have dug up some dirt on Maxine Waters’ holdings in OneUnited Bank vis a vis her calling of a meeting with Paulson…

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