Dems call on House panel to release Waters report in ethics case

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and 68 of her Democratic colleagues are pushing the House Ethics Committee to release a recently completed report that absolved the secretive panel of any wrongdoing in its case against the veteran lawmaker.

In a letter sent Thursday to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the panel’s acting chairman on the Waters case, and Rep. John Yarmuth (D-Ky.), the committee’s ranking member, the bevy of nearly 70 lawmakers called on the committee to make public the report that special counsel Bill Martin recently completed.

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Goodlatte and Yarmuth outlined the report’s findings in a general letter to Waters on Wednesday, finding that while someone on the committee had leaked information about her case to the press and racially insensitive remarks had been leveled at Waters, there were no grounds to dismiss the charges brought against her.

Waters has maintained her innocence for nearly three years, as the committee has investigated whether she violated House rules after allegations surfaced that she secured funding for a bank in which her husband owned stock.

Now, after nearly a year of investigation by Martin of allegations of misconduct on behalf of the committee, the panel has decided it may proceed with its investigation and potential prosecution of Waters.

But the group of Democrats wants to see Martin’s report before anything further happens in the case.

"The committee must immediately release Mr. Martin’s report, which forms the basis of their determination to dismiss Representative Waters’ due process concerns,” wrote the 69 Democrats.

“Without the public, the Congress, and Representative Waters being able to review the findings included in this report, the integrity of the Committee’s process will further be called into question.”

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Among the Democrats who signed the request with Waters were Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (Md.), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Also signed on to the letter were Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee (Texas), Marcia Fudge (Ohio), Hank Johnson (Ga.), Sanford Bishop Jr. (Ga.), Alcee Hastings (Fla.), Lacy Clay (Mo.), Dale Kildee (Mich.), Yvette Clark (N.Y.), Barbara Lee (Calif.), Danny Davis (Ill.), Norm Dicks (Wash.), John Conyers (Mich.), Hansen Clarke (Mich.), Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), Sam Farr (Calif.), John Lewis (Ga.), Pete Stark (Calif.), and Ed Pastor (Ariz.).

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) was the first to call for the committee to release the report on Wednesday.