Heading into the midterm elections, this is the last thing Democrats needed. On top of a public trial for Rep. Charles Rangel (N.Y.), it now looks like there’ll be a second ethics trial for California Rep. Maxine Waters — on charges that, among other minority banks she sought federal help for, was a bank of which her husband was a shareholder and former board member.

Like Rangel, Waters has apparently decided to take her chances in a public trial, rather than accept a one-sided verdict from the House ethics committee.

Gleeful Republicans, of course, are having a field day, accusing Speaker Nancy Pelosi of failing in her campaign promise to “drain the swamp” if Democrats were to take control of the House. Which makes for predictable, good-sound-bite politics — but on which point Republicans are dead wrong.

By promising to “drain the swamp,” Pelosi did not mean there would never again be any Democrat who broke the rules. Of course not. She meant that, unlike Republicans during their long “culture of corruption,” Democrats would not simply look the other way when one of their party did wrong. They would investigate and prosecute any allegations of wrongdoing, by Republicans or Democrats.

Which is exactly what Speaker Pelosi is now allowing to happen. The charges against Charlie Rangel were leveled by Democrats. He was forced to step down as Ways and Means Committee chairman by Democrats. He is being marched into a public trial by fellow Democrats. And whatever punishment he receives will be meted out by Democrats.

And, when it comes to public corruption, that’s the big difference between the two parties in the House: Democrats are cleaning up their own mess; Republicans simply wallowed in theirs.

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