Bloomberg News

Six U.S. House Replacements Named to Ethics Probe of Waters

February 22, 2012

(Updates with Waters aide declining comment in third paragraph.)

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- House Speaker John Boehner appointed six lawmakers to help review ethics allegations against California Representative Maxine Waters, replacing Ethics Committee members who disqualified themselves from the case.

Waters, a Democrat, is accused of improperly helping a financially troubled Boston bank, in which her husband owned stock, seek $50 million of emergency federal assistance during the financial market crisis in 2008. She would be first in line to be chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee if Democrats gain the majority in the November elections.

Mikael Moore, Waters’s chief of staff, declined to comment.

The appointment of the six temporary Ethics Committee members was announced on the House floor after the panel’s chairman, Republican Jo Bonner of Alabama, ranking Democrat Linda Sanchez of California and four other Republican members recused themselves from participating in the case.

The disqualifications stemmed from a review of Waters’s allegations of misconduct by two former Ethics Committee staff lawyers in handling her case, which originated in 2010. In July, the panel hired Washington attorney Billy Martin to probe allegations that the lawyers improperly communicated information about the Waters case to Republican lawmakers.

No Evidence of Bias

Martin found no evidence of bias or a need for disqualification by members of the panel, Bonner said in a letter to Boehner, an Ohio Republican, that was read aloud on the House floor. Bonner said he and his colleagues were recusing themselves “out of an abundance of caution and to remove even the appearance of unfairness.”

The temporary replacements are Republicans Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, Steve LaTourette of Ohio, Mike Simpson of Idaho, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Tim Griffin of Arkansas, as well as Democrat John Sarbanes of Maryland.

Besides Bonner and Sanchez, the four members who recused themselves were Republicans Charles Dent of Pennsylvania, Gregg Harper of Mississippi, and Mike Conaway and Michael McCaul, both of Texas.

--With assistance from Jodi Schneider in Washington. Editors: Katherine Rizzo, Laurie Asseo.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Rowley in Washington at jarowley@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo5@bloomberg.net


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