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Friday, August 13, 2010

Maxine Waters, Charles Rangel and Big Fish

I have been quiet on the whole Maxine Waters (D-CA) vs the House Ethics Committee investigation into the congresswoman’s involvement with arranging a meeting between OneUnited Bank and Treasury Department officials who later received $12 million from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).  See video HERE

I have not been a big fan of the Congressional Black Caucus for some time. But you got to give it to Maxine Waters her 90 minute news conference to contest ethics charges against her was a big success in news media coverage. Even if right wing bloggers hate her.


Now the big question is whether House Ethics Committee investigators believe her, when she says that any appeals she made to Treasury officials in late 2008 were to get minority banks access to decision makers, not to protect a family investment. 

The committee has filed three charges against Ms. Waters, accusing her office of intervening on behalf of OneUnited at the height of the recession, after it had lost $50 million on an investment it held in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal housing finance agencies. 


As reported by the NY Times and other news outlets, She also presented a PowerPoint review of documents — essentially a preview of the defense she will offer at her ethics trial. The documents, Ms. Waters argued, proved that any federal assistance provided to OneUnited, the Massachusetts bank her husband still owns stock in, was based on the merits, not any intervention by her office.  More HERE

Like the case of New York Congressman Charles Rangel, no date has been set for a trial, and that angers Ms. Waters. And like NY Congressman Charles "I'm not going anywhere" Rangel, she has also requested that her case be resolved before the November election.

Well it looks like the legendary California Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters and New York Congressman Charles Rangel may be getting set-up for their own collective stupidity. Yes a second high-profile trial of black politico's with political implications for Democrats this fall. More HERE

I personally have mixed feelings about this situation. On one hand I see the clear conflict of interest involving Waters who helped arrange a meeting between regulators and executives at Boston-based OneUnited Bank without mentioning her husband's financial ties to the institution. (note: her husband, Sidney Williams, held at least $250,000 in the bank's stock and previously had served on its board).  Yet on the other hand, the former Vice President of the United States, Dick Chaney helped his buddy's get plenty of dollars with Haliburton without a problem. As an example:


Example: Halliburton subsidiary Brown & Root is paid $9 million by the Pentagon (under Cheney's direction as Secretary of Defense) to produce a classified report detailing how private companies (like itself) could provide logistical support for American troops in potential war zones around the world. Shortly after this report, the Pentagon awards Brown & Root a five-year contract to provide logistics for the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. The General Accounting Office estimates that through this contract, Brown & Root makes overall $2.2 billion in revenue in the Balkans. More HERE


Without any previous business experience, Cheney leaves the Department of Defense to become the CEO of Halliburton Co., one of the biggest oil-services companies in the world. He will be chairman of the company from 1996 to October 1998 and from February to August 2000. Under Cheney's leadership, Halliburton moves up from 73rd to 18th on the Pentagon's list of top contractors. The company garners $2.3 billion in U.S. government contracts, which almost doubles the $1.2 billion it earned from the government previously. Most of the contracts are granted by the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. Halliburton's overseas operations go from 51% to 68% of its revenue. According to the Center for Public Integrity, under Cheney's leadership the company also receives $1.5 billion worth of assistance from government-sponsored agencies such as OPIC (Overseas Private Investment Corporation) and the Export-Import Bank, a huge increase compared to the $100 million that the company had received in federal loans and guarantees in the five years prior to Cheney's arrival. Years later, during the 2000 campaign in a broadcasted vice presidential candidates' debate with Joe Lieberman, Cheney asserts that "the government has absolutely nothing to do" with his financial success as chairman of Halliburton Co. Halliburton pleads guilty to criminal charges of violating a U.S. ban on exports to Libya by selling Col. Qaddafi six pulse neutron generators, devices that can be used to detonate nuclear weapons. Halliburton pays a $3.8 million penalty to settle alleged violations of the U.S. trade ban. Read More HERE

Maxine Waters and NY Congressman Rangel are small time fish in a big sea of political corruption in Washington, DC. OK, but Congress woman Maxine don't blame Bush. Look in the mirror. Some times the appearance of doing something wrong, is just as bad as doing something wrong.

Oh, and by the way, The Federal government should be going after the big fish

But they won't because the big fish are inside the government.

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