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Rep. Maxine Waters Cleared Of Charges In Ethics Case

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Rep. Maxine Waters has been cleared of all charges in the ethics case against her, paving the way for her to replace Rep. Barney Frank on the House Financial Services Committee.

Waters, 74, had been charged with ethics violations for using her influence as a congresswoman to help out a bank that her husband had invested in.

Waters arranged a meeting between Treasury officials and the executives of OneUnited Bank of Boston in 2008 during the banking crisis. Her husband had invested $350,000 in the bank and his stock might have been rendered worthless had it gone under. But Waters said that she arranged the meeting, because she was a longtime advocate of minority-owned businesses and lending in underserved communities.

Prominent Washington lawyer Billy Martin investigated the charges, according to City News Service. He determined that Waters believed that when she arranged the meeting that she was working on behalf of all minority-owned banks—not just OneUnited Bank of Boston.

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Martin said that when Waters learned that OneUnited was seeking federal bailout funds, she ended her involvement on behalf of the institution. It later received $12 in federal TARP funds. Waters did not knowingly violate any House rules, Martin said.

Waters' aide and grandson Mikael Moore didn't get off quite as easy. The ethics panel said that Moore did take actions in Congress to specifically help OneUnited, violating House standards of conduct, according to the Associated Press. For that, he will receive a letter admonishing him for his conduct.

Waters is now poised to replace retiring Rep. Barney Frank as the top Democrat on the House Financial Service Committee in the next Congress, CNS reports.