The ethics trial of Rep. Maxine Waters was postponed Friday, as the House ethics committee found new documents connected to charges that she improperly tried to help a bank in which her husband owned stock.
Waters, a senior member of the Financial Services Committee, was set to go on trial Nov. 29 before a jury of eight House colleagues. She has vigorously fought the charges, saying she did nothing more than set up a meeting between an association of minority-owned banks and U.S. Treasury officials.
In June, an investigative House panel charged Waters, D-Calif., on three counts, saying she improperly tried to obtain federal money for OneUnited Bank. Her husband, Sidney Williams, had an investment in the bank that was worth more than $351,000 on June 20, 2008, but dwindled to $175,000 by Sept. 30, 2008. If OneUnited had not received federal financial help, the charges said, the investment would have become worthless.
The bank eventually did receive $12 million in federal bailout money in December 2008, some three months after Waters asked Treasury officials to meet with the association that included OneUnited.
However, Waters and Treasury officials later said the congresswoman had nothing to do with the bailout decision.
The charges said that Waters' chief of staff Mikael Moore, who also is her grandson, kept working to help OneUnited after Waters accepted the suggestion of Financial Service Committee chairman, Barney Frank, to stop her efforts.
"I have not violated any House rules," she said when the charges were issued.
The three counts charged Waters with: violating a rule requiring lawmakers' conduct to reflect creditably on the House; violating the spirit and letter of a rule prohibiting receipt of benefits by exerting improper influence; and violating a government code of conduct that prohibits dispensing or receiving special favors.