Turning up the heat on the controversial House Ethics Committee, embattled Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) is crying foul over the recent delay of her ethics “trial” which was scheduled for Nov. 29. Angered that the Committee, without any specific explanation, chose to indefinitely delay her trial, Waters pressed forward with her point by delivering a statement at 9:00am on Monday morning – outside the hearing room where her trial was scheduled and at the exact same time it was previously scheduled.
“As you know, my hearing was scheduled for this morning at 9am, and I am here because I am, as I have always been, eager for my opportunity to have my day before the adjudicatory subcommittee,” said Waters. “I am disappointed that the committee has chosen not to hold my hearing.”
Waters, unleashing a full public assault on the Committee, added in her statement:
I had consistently called on the committee to schedule the hearing before the November elections and that request went unanswered. Ironically, the Republican Members of the committee shared my view, so much so that they were willing to break their own rules in order to share their frustration. Now they have seemed to reverse their course, and joined with the other members of the committee to delay the hearing.
Despite these setbacks, my legal team and I have acted in an open, transparent and accountable manner at every step along the way. We have participated fully in the Committee process, including the timely filing of motions — some of which went unanswered — and the exchange of documents. We are fully prepared for this hearing. Despite this, the committee has again denied me my opportunity to be heard. This type of behavior, lack of decency and professional decorum would not be accepted in a court of law, and it should not be accepted in the United States House of Representatives, the body responsible for making the laws.
So my message to the committee is simple: schedule my hearing before the end of the session or tell me, my constituents, and the American public the real reason for this delay.
Many longtime Capitol Hill observers expect that Waters is growing nervous that her trial could take place during the 112th Congress, when Republicans are in control of the House. That could cause considerable problems for the California Congresswoman, who has sparred with GOP House Members for many years over a number of major policy issues. Some argue Republicans could use her trial as an opportunity for political payback. Others are noting that the Committee’s actions are highly unusual.
“Several ethics experts said they could not recall any similar action in a previous congressional probe,” writes Politico’s John Breshnahan in a recent piece on the Waters matter. “And they questioned whether the committee even had the authority to do so once it has charged Waters with multiple ethics violations.”