After a two-year investigation, South LA Congresswoman Maxine Waters was cleared of charges that she violated House ethics Friday. In 2008, she was accused of steering a $12 million bailout for a bank in which her husband was a stockholder and board member. This clears the way for Waters to be top democrat in the House Financial Services. Michelle Valles reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2012.
After a two-year ethics investigation, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) was cleared of wrongdoing after she was alleged to have tried to help a bank in which her husband was an investor.
Waters has been accused of improperly helping a bank linked to her husband. She denied wrongdoing, saying her efforts were in keeping with her longtime work to promote opportunity for minority-owned businesses and lending in underserved communities.
Prominent Washington lawyer Billy Martin was hired by the House Ethics Committee to investigate the charges and recommend a course of action.
According to findings released Friday, Martin determined that Waters believed she was intervening on behalf of all minority-owned banks-and not directly on behalf of OneUnited Bank of Boston, in which her husband held stock.
He concluded that there was no evidence that she knowingly violated House rules.
Martin added that when she learned that OneUnited, on whose board her husband once sat, was seeking federal bailout funds, Waters ended her involvement on behalf of the institution, which ultimately received $12 million through the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
The development appeared to clear the way for the 74-year-old Waters to become the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee in the next Congress, replacing retiring Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass.
Waters has held elective office in Sacramento or Washington for more than three decades. She currently represents California's 35th congression district, which includes Inglewood, Hawthorne, Gardena and Florence-Graham.
She has been anxious to put the ethic case behind her as she seeks to succeed the retiring Frank.