WATERS IN HOT WATER, COMPLICATING LIFE FOR THE DEMS – AT 12:40 P.M. ET: Another congressional Democrat is facing ethics charges, making it hard for the Dems to say they cleaned house after the last election. From the Washington Times:
WASHINGTON (AP) — A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could face an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the election outlook for the party as it battles to retain its majority.
People familiar with the investigation, who were not authorized to be quoted about charges before they are made public, say the allegations could be announced next week. The House ethics committee declined Friday to make any public statement on the matter.
Waters, 71, has been under investigation for a possible conflict of interest involving a bank that was seeking federal aid. Her husband owned stock in the bank and had served on its board.
New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel also faces an ethics trial this fall on charges that include failure to disclose assets and income, nonpayment of taxes and doing legislative favors for donors to a college center named after him.
Both Waters and Rangel are prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the trials would be an embarrassment for the group. Dual ethics trials would also be a major political liability for Democrats, forcing them to defend their party's ethical conduct while trying to hold on to their House majority.
COMMENT: The racial angle here should not be underestimated. Many African-Americans may start to believe that their representatives are being targeted...by the Democratic-controlled House. That's not a great incentive to come out on election day and support the usual party.
On the other hand, if the charges against Rangel and Waters are minimized, or either (if guilty) gets off with a slap on the wrist, there'll be genuine public anger, and the Dems will certainly lose on the corruption issue. And, among whites, there may then be a feeling of a double standard.
Either way, the Dems have a major problem.
July 31, 2010