During the height of the 2008 fiscal crisis, Waters helped arrange a meeting between the Treasury Department and top executives of a bank where her husband was a shareholder. Using her post on the House Financial Committee as leverage, she called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson personally, asking him to meet with minority-owned banks.
When Treasury followed through, there was only one financial institution present: OneUnited. Had that bank gone under, the New York Times reported, Waters’ husband would’ve lost as much as $350,000. Luckily for the Waters family, OneUnited received a cool $12 million in bailout funds.
After three years of special investigation, the ethics committee eventually ruled that Waters didn’t technically break any rules. But that ruling came after unearthing her more than questionable family business practices, like making her grandson, Mikael Moore, her chief of staff.
Officially the committee ruled that Moore went behind the congresswoman’s back to continue to lobby for special treatment. At best, that shows that Waters runs a haphazard office. At worst, it suggests she deliberately took steps to avoid prosecution.
The Ethics Committee’s probe of the California congresswoman’s dealings with a minority-owned bank in which her husband held stock dragged on 38 months and consumed probably millions in legal fees.