Only through Waters' direct intervention was OneUnited Bank able to secure an emergency meeting with Paulson and Treasury, according to the ethics probe. The Treasury Department said so itself. At the confab, Waters' pals purported to represent the 130-member "National Bankers Association." But records obtained by congressional investigators show that OneUnited Bank's legal counsel, vice president and president (the latter two are married to each other) spearheaded the meeting, directed its agenda and drafted the talking points/briefing material for Waters at her request -- so that she could "speak intelligently" about their demands.
On the Rev. Al Sharpton's national radio show on Tuesday afternoon, Waters played the persecuted champion of urban America to perfection. She claimed the meeting was arranged on behalf of all black banks in the country. Sympathizers are now framing the matter as a threat to "advocacy for black businesses" and whispering loudly about a "racial profiling" campaign against Waters, her embattled colleague Rep. Charlie Rangel and other ethically challenged members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
But congressional investigators concluded that "OneUnited's exclusive representation at the meeting" was the "cause for concern," not Waters' noble-sounding social justice agenda. Stonewalling by OneUnited top officials Robert Cooper and Kevin Cohee exacerbated the Office of Congressional Ethics' concern. As did fellow Democratic Rep. Barney Frank's ignored warning to Waters to "stay out of" the matter.
In her defense, Waters pooh-poohs the OneUnited Bank rescue as a pittance compared to the rest of the monstrous TARP bailout. She'd have a teensy bit more credibility on the fiscal responsibility front if she had opposed TARP from the start, instead of playing an instrumental role in throwing the Congressional Black Caucus' full support behind it.
As is usually the case in Washington, these alleged violations dwarf the wheeling and dealing Waters has continued to broker as an entrenched incumbent and senior member of the House Financial Services Committee. The so-called financial "reform" bill she helped shepherd is stuffed with color-coded mandates and favoritism. From "We Shall Overcome" to "Get Mine" -- ah, racial progress.
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