The House Ethics Committee announced on Wednesday that Rep. Maxine Waters’s (D-Calif.) rights were not violated in its investigation of her and its case will proceed.
Waters is next in line to fill Rep. Barney Frank’s (D-Mass.) position as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee next year when Frank retires. An ethics conviction could jeopardize her ascension to the post.
In a letter to Waters, the committee wrote to inform the lawmaker that it had considered the 12 allegations of misconduct her lawyer had presented against the panel and found that none of them was in violation of House or committee rules.
"As such, there has been no violation of the due process rights to which you are entitled. Even when the allegations are considered in their totality, there is still no violation of the process which you are due, and the Committee is entitled to continue its consideration of your matter,” the lawmakers wrote.
For more than two years, the committee has investigated whether Waters violated House rules after allegations surfaced that she secured funding for a bank in which her husband own stock. Waters has maintained her innocence.
As the committee moved toward holding a trial for Waters in late 2010, the panel halted abruptly and placed two of its lead attorneys on administrative leave. Shortly afterward, the committee’s chief counsel stepped down.
The first half of 2011 was spent in a flurry of firing and reorganizing among the panel’s investigative and legal staff, which included the hiring of a new chief counsel.
In July, the committee announced it was hiring outside attorney Billy Martin to investigate whether members and staff on the panel had acted inappropriately in the Waters case.
Since then, Martin spent at least $300,000 in reviewing more than 100,000 pages of documents and conducting 26 interviews with people involved, including every member of the committee and the panel’s investigative subcommittee in the 111th Congress.
The committee found that Waters was not entitled to a “speedy trial,” saying that the Sixth Amendment does not apply to committee proceedings and that lawmakers under investigation by the panel do not have the same rights as a criminal defendant in this regard.
—Updated at 1:17 p.m.