The Scandal-Ridden Tenure of Nancy Pelosi as Democratic House Leader: A Primer
As you have hopefully heard by now, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) officially called for Anthony Weiner’s resignation today. Per CNN:
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and the chairmen of the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called for Weiner to step down in separate statements earlier Saturday.
Weiner’s decision to seek treatment and take a leave was not enough to satisfy Pelosi, who wants him to step down, a Pelosi aide told CNN.
“Congressman Weiner has the love of his family, the confidence of his constituents and the recognition that he needs help. I urge Congressman Weiner to seek that help without the pressures of being a member of Congress,” Pelosi said earlier.
Now, while we’re all thinking “FINALLY!” to ourselves, I want to point out something ABC’s Jake Tapper tweeted earlier yesterday that really caught my eye. However, I can’t say that it honestly surprised me:
BUT it is true that this is the first time @NancyPelosi has called for a House Democrat to resign.
Like I said, I can’t say this honestly surprised me. The Democratic Party does have a habit of circling the wagons around their own when one of them is involved, or appears to be involved in, (usually the former) a scandal. Still, though, that’s quite a lot of scandals, and most of them never got anywhere near the amount of media coverage they would have gotten had these members had an “R” next to their name. In fact, had Pelosi been a Republican, I’m certain there would be widespread calls across the media, her own party, and the American people for her to step down (for that matter, she probably would have been defeated for reelection), but no, she’s still there as the top ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives.
So, to refresh our memories, I have compiled a list of scandals that have occurred within her party under her leadership. Though it’s probably fairer to her than she deserves, I have limited this list to scandals occurring or continuing solely during her term as Democratic House Leader, meaning no Barney Frank prostitution ring or Dan Rostenkowski. Furthermore, this list is limited to House members only during that period, meaning no Chris Dodd. I’m also not including Anthony Weiner because his case is fresh in our memory. I cannot claim that this list is authoritative–these are Democrats we’re talking about after all, meaning there’s always more scandals waiting to be uncovered. However, I did the best I can, so let’s take a look:
Rep. Joe Baca (D-CA): The Chairman of the all Democratic Congressional Hispanic Caucus (Republicans have their own group) from 2007-2008 apparently drove some of the funds from the caucus’ BOLDPAC, an organization that is supposed to help elect Hispanic officials at all levels, to fund his children’s, Joe Jr. and Jeremy, election campaigns. Joe Jr. was seeking a seat in the California State Senate, and Jeremy was seeking the State Assembly seat Joe Jr. was giving up to go after said Senate seat. After fellow California Representative Loretta Sanchez, as well as a few other CHC members, tried to confront him on it, he allegedly did the classy thing…and called her a whore. His leadership was so bad that Loretta, her sister Linda, and three other members left the caucus.
Representative Baca is still in office, but he is no longer the Chairman of the Congressonal Hispanic Caucus. New York Representative Nydia Velazquez took over that role in 2008.
Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA): Like I said earlier, I will not include his prostitution scandal from the 1980s (though, in my opinion, that should have been enough to get him to resign regardless). What he gets a mention here for has to do with his involvement with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and his oversight of them. Despite the last few years proving him wrong, he famously said, ”These two entities — Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — are not facing any kind of financial crisis…The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing.” Then, there was his famous “dice roll” quote. In September of 2003, he told Congress: “I do not want the same kind of focus on safety and soundness [in the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac] that we have in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Office of Thrift Supervision. I want to roll the dice a little bit more in this situation towards subsidised housing.”
Furthermore, it has also come to light that he has received a total of $42,350 from the companies in campaign contributions between the years of 1998-2008 (Source: OpenSecrets). Finally, he lobbied the two companies to get them to hire one of his lovers, one Herb Moses:
Representative Barney Frank, who for more than two decades has been a member of the House committee charged with oversight of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, acknowledged yesterday that he recommended his live-in companion for a job at one of the housing agencies in the early 1990s at the same time Congress was writing legislation to improve oversight of the agency. (Source: Boston Globe)
Now, Barney Frank has insisted that this did not present a conflict of interest. However, it is worthy to note, as this Fox News story points out:
The two lived together in a Washington home until they broke up in 1998, a few months after Moses ended his seven-year tenure at Fannie Mae, where he was the assistant director of product initiatives. According to National Mortgage News, Moses “helped develop many of Fannie Mae’s affordable housing and home improvement lending programs.”
Although Frank now blames Republicans for the failure of Fannie and Freddie, he spent years blocking GOP lawmakers from imposing tougher regulations on the mortgage giants. In 1991, the year Moses was hired by Fannie, the Boston Globe reported that Frank pushed the agency to loosen regulations on mortgages for two- and three-family homes, even though they were defaulting at twice and five times the rate of single homes, respectively.
Now, in fairness, the contributions stretch back into the 1990s and even 1980s, and his lover was only at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac until 1998. However, it is worth pointing out that never once did he consider these things a conflict of interest as he took over the Chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee–which is the committee that regulates these companies–in 2007, or even the status of Ranking Member before then (or since January of this year).
Right now, he’s still the Democrats’ Ranking Member on the House Financial Services Committee. Despite a great campaign during the 2010 midterms by Sean Bielat, Frank was reelected with 54% of the vote (Bielat received 43%).
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA): Mrs. Harman held a conversation with members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee where she promised to lobby the Bush administration for lighter treatment on two Israeli-lobbyists who were suspected of spying, among other things. According to the New York Times:
One of the leading House Democrats on intelligence matters was overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage, current and former government officials say.
The official with access to the transcripts said someone seeking help for the employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group, was recorded asking Ms. Harman, a longtime supporter of its efforts, to intervene with the Justice Department. She responded, the official recounted, by saying she would have more influence with a White House official she did not identify.
In return, the caller promised her that a wealthy California donor — the media mogul Haim Saban — would threaten to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.
From 2003-2006, she was the Ranking Member on the House Intelligence Committee. Although Silvestre Reyes (D-TX) was selected over her as Chairman of the committee when the Democrats held the House from 2007-2010, she again resumed Ranking Member duties once the Democrats returned to the minority after the 2010 midterm elections up until she resigned earlier this year to take the helm of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-IL): Mr. Jackson was involved in the scandal over who would replace Barack Obama as Senator from Illinois. This was the same scandal that brought down Illinois’ Democratic Governor Rod Blagojevich for attempting to sell the seat. ABC’s Blotter has the story:
Chicago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., is the anonymous “Senate Candidate No. 5″ whose emissaries Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich reportedly offered up to $1 million to name him to the U.S. Senate, his attorney confirmed today after it was reported earlier on ABCNews.com”The Blotter”.
According to the FBI affidavit in the case, Blagojevich “stated he might be able to cut a deal with Senate Candidate 5 that provided Rod Blagojevich” with something “tangible up front.”
Jackson has denied any wrongdoing in the case. However, it has come to light, according to a Chicago Sun-Times story, that he directed a political fund-raiser to offer millions of dollars to Blago in exchange for the seat. Though the story is no longer up at the Sun-Times’ original site, the Wayback Machine gives us this:
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. directed a major political fund-raiser to offer former Gov. Rod Blagojevich millions of dollars in campaign cash in return for an appointment to the U.S. Senate, sources said the fund-raiser has told federal authorities.
The allegation by Oak Brook businessman Raghuveer Nayak counters public statements made as recently as last week by Jackson that he never authorized any deal to attempt to buy the Senate seat.
Then there’s his alleged affair with model Giovana Huidobro, which is also related to the Senate seat issue. Per Chicago’s NBC station, WMAQ-TV:
Jackson Jr. allegedly had a relationship with Giovana Huidobro, a restaurant hostess and former model whose pictures can be seen here, and asked that fund-raiser Raghuveer Nayak pay for her to be flown from D.C. to Chicago on at least two occasions.
“The reference to a social acquaintance is a personal and private matter between me and my wife that was handled some time ago.” Jackson Jr. said in a statement. “I ask that you respect our privacy.”
Huidobro was allegedly present at a D.C. meeting between Jackson Jr. and Nayak in 2008, when the two allegedly discussed a scheme to funnel $6 million in fund-raising dollars to Rod Blagojevich.
Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., has represented Illinois’ 2nd Congressional District since 1995.
Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA): I don’t think I need to elaborate much on what all Mr. Jefferson, also known by the nicknames of, to wit: “Dollar Bill”, “Cold Cash”, and “In His Freezer”, has done, given the intense media coverage it managed to get. There’s a nice short timeline of his corruption case here (PDF file), and for more info, the same site, VendomePlace.org also has a list of every relevant news article to the case.
Despite all of the evidence that came to light, the Democrats did not force him to resign, though I would argue that his case was enough to warrant a vote on expulsion, which they did not attempt either. However, they did at least remove him from his seat on the Ways and Means Committee. It was on in 2008, under extremely mitigating circumstances from Republicans, basically that the election for his seat was delayed until December due to Hurricane Gustav, that he was defeated for reelection by Republican Joseph Cao, who was crushed 65% to 33% (see the 2nd District) in 2010 by current Representative Cedric Richmond.
Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY): Mr. Massa’s case ought to be fairly well known, but I’ll give a brief rundown of it anyways. Basically he was accused of sexually harassing a male staffer. Per Politico on March 5, 2010:
Eager to avoid a repeat of the Mark Foley scandal, House Democratic leaders moved quickly last month when a staffer for Rep. Eric Massa complained that he’d made advances to a junior male aide.
But rumors about Massa had been circulating for months in both Democratic and Republican circles on Capitol Hill, and GOP operatives even considered digging into them on their own. However, sources say there wasn’t evidence of any wrongdoing until Massa’s then-legislative director contacted the office of House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in early February.
POLITICO reported Wednesday that Ronald Hikel, who was then Massa’s deputy chief of staff and legislative director, went to the House ethics committee last month with allegations that his boss had been harassing another staffer. Massa, who announced Wednesday that he is not seeking reelection, denied the allegations, saying he’s simply a “salty old sailor” who sometimes speaks too bluntly.
But a Massa aide told POLITICO that Massa — who is married and has children — has been engaged in inappropriate behavior “for eight months.”
It’s interesting to note that, though Massa resigned on March 8th of 2010, Nancy Pelosi (according to the aforementioned Politico article) said she had only heard of these ethics complaints only on Wednesday of the previous week, which was the 3rd of the month. However, Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer had apparently learned of these complaints around a month prior to the resignation. Per another Politico article, dated to the March 3rd (the same day Pelosi supposedly first learned of the complaints, Hoyer’s office had this to say:
“The week of February 8th, a member of Rep. Massa’s staff brought to the attention of Mr. Hoyer’s staff allegations of misconduct that had been made against Mr. Massa. Mr. Hoyer’s staff immediately informed him of what they had been told. Mr. Hoyer instructed his staff that if Mr. Massa or his staff did not bring the matter to the attention of the bipartisan Ethics Committee within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer would do so. Within 48 hours, Mr. Hoyer received confirmation from both the Ethics Committee staff and Mr. Massa’s staff that the Ethics Committee had been contacted and would review the allegations. Mr. Hoyer does not know whether the allegations are true or false, but wanted to ensure that the bipartisan committee charged with overseeing conduct of Members was immediately involved to determine the facts.”
As I pointed out before, Massa resigned his seat on March 8th, 2010. Republican Tom Reed was elected to fill the seat in the November midterm elections. In fairness, though Massa did resign, and Pelosi had no real connection to the case other than the fact that she was Democratic leader, it is still troubling that she had no idea of the complaints being made to the Ethics Committee until a month after it was referred to the committee and just before Massa announced his intention to retire–which would be followed by the announcement of his resignation a couple days later.
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV): Mr. Mollohan apparently set up several nonprofit organizations in his district in West Virginia which would take federal funds, ostensibly to help deal with the rampant poverty in his district. However, these organizations apparently would also send him a cut. According to this Washington Post story:
Starting in the 1990s, Rep. Alan B. Mollohan (D-W.Va.) chose an unusual way to funnel federal funds into his poverty-ridden district. He set up a network of nonprofit organizations to administer the millions of dollars he directed to such public endeavors as high-tech research and historic preservation.
Over the same period, Mollohan’s personal fortunes soared. From 2000 to 2004, his assets grew from no more than $565,000 to at least $6.3 million. The partners in his rapidly expanding real estate empire included the head of one of these nonprofit groups and the owner of a local company for which he arranged substantial federal aid.
Mollohan used his seat on the House Appropriations Committee to secure more than $150 million for five nonprofit groups. One of the groups is headed by a former aide with whom Mollohan bought $2 million worth of property on Bald Head Island, N.C.
Controversy over this blending of commerce and legislation has triggered a federal probe…
As the article also notes, Mollohan had a seat on the House Ethics Committee–you know, the committee that was supposed to deal with this kind of corruption in Members of Congress.
Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington has cited him on several reports of “Most Corrupt Congressmembers” in recent years. In 2010, their citation read:
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WV) is a fourteenth-term member of Congress representing West Virginia’s 1st district. He was included in CREW’s 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 reports on congressional corruption for steering earmarks to family, friends, and former employees in exchange for campaign contributions and for misreporting assets on his personal financial disclosure forms.
Fortunately, his seat was taken last November by Republican David McKinley, which is hopefully the beginning of the Republican Party’s revival in West Virginia. His issues were so bad that he was actually defeated in the Democratic Primary. For that to happen to a congressman seeking his 15th term says something.
Reps. Jim Moran (D-VA), John Murtha (D-PA), and Pete Visclosky (D-IN): The National Review notes:
Along with Murtha, these two congressmen are under scrutiny for their ties to PMA Group, a lobbying firm that steered millions of dollars in donations to their political committees from its lobbyists and earmark-seeking clients.
In fairness, Reps. Moran and Murtha, as The Hill notes, were cleared of these allegations by the Office of Congressional Ethics. Visclosky, though, was not so lucky. According to the same article, his office and chief of staff were subpoenaed by the FBI for documents and testimony for the case, though nothing became of it. The House Ethics Committee also concluded its report without leveling any charges saying in a 305 page report (PDF file):
Simply because a member sponsors an earmark for an entity that also happens to be a campaign contributor does not, on these two facts alone, support a claim that a member’s actions are being influenced by campaign contributions,” the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct said in a unanimous statement.
I happen to agree with The Economist’s take on the situation:
In 2008, the seven lawmakers the committee cleared of any wrongdoing had steered $112m in earmarks to clients of the PMA Group, a lobbying organisation. In that same year, they accepted a total of $350,000 in campaign contributions from those clients. The contributions, they maintained, had nothing to do with the earmarks. And a committee of their peers backed them up.
For further kicks and giggles, I think it’s worthy of note that the title of this piece is “Creative Ethics in Congress: House Committee for Legalized Bribery”. Heh.
The story doesn’t end here for John Murtha, though. The obvious elephant in the room when discussing him and corruption is the Abscam scandal. However, that happened years before Nancy Pelosi was even elected to Congress, so per my standards outlined earlier, I won’t provide any further detail than that link I just gave.
However, the 2006 report of Congress’ most corrupt members makes note of another Murtha scandal involving KSA Consulting. Though this technically began in 2002, before Pelosi assumed the role of Democratic Leader in the House in 2003, it continued into 2004, so I will make mention of it. Per the CREW report, via the Wayback Machine:
In 2002, Kit Murtha was hired by KSA Consulting, a firm that lobbies the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee on behalf of defense contractors. Mr. Murtha joined the firm at the invitation of top KSA official Carmen Scialabba, who had worked for Rep. Murtha on the House Appropriations Committee for 27 years.
In 2004, Congress passed a $417 billion defense appropriations bill that went through Rep. Murtha’s subcommittee. The bill benefitted at least 10 companies represented by KSA and KSA directly lobbied Rep. Murtha’s office on behalf of seven of those companies, which received a total $20.8 million in earmarks.
John Murtha was a prolific earmarker–to the Sen. Byrd or Sen. Stevens level, even–known for bringing home amounts of money numbering in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Some of it may have been steered to his supporters in a very Mollohan-esque way. Per the Washington Post in 2009:
A Pennsylvania defense research center regularly consulted with two “handlers” close to Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) as it collected nearly $250 million in federal funding through the lawmaker, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and sources familiar with the funding requests. The center then channeled a significant portion of the funding to companies that were among Murtha’s campaign supporters.
The two advisers included a lobbyist for PMA Group, a firm with close ties to Murtha that is the subject of a federal investigation into whether it made illegal contributions by reimbursing donors to the Pennsylvania lawmaker and other members of Congress. The Electro-Optics Center also relied on advice from a longtime Murtha friend who now works on the congressman’s appropriations staff.
Federal agents are also exploring how the center obtained its funds after they received dozens of internal documents last year. It is unclear whether the records have become a central focus of the Justice Department’s probe, but they open a window into a largely hidden process in which powerful lawmakers can direct funds to pet projects.
The Electro-Optics Center [the defense center in question], created by Murtha a decade ago under the auspices of Pennsylvania State University, was envisioned as a way to spur a new high-tech industry and create jobs in economically depressed western Pennsylvania.
Representatives Moran and Visclosky are still members of Congress. Despite the many ethical questions surrounding him, John Murtha crushed his Republican opponents with 61% of the vote in 2006 and 58% in 2008. However, he died in the middle of his 13th term on February 8th, 2010 from complications due to the removal of his gallbladder in December of 2009.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY): To be honest, I don’t know if I have it in me to chronicle all the corruption Rangel has been involved in, even over the past decade, but I’ll definitely hit the highlights (or lowlights?). But where to begin? Let’s see…
- To begin, Rangel, while the Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee (before he stepped down for the position under the cloud of all his ethical problems, the committee charged with writing America’s tax laws, is a tax cheat:
For 20 years, Harlem Rep. Charles Rangel has owned a beachfront villa in a sun-drenched Dominican Republic resort, yet has only sporadically declared income on the property in federal filings….Rangel’s financial disclosure forms, which members of Congress must file annually to the clerk of the House of Representatives, checks “none” for income from the property in 2006 and 2007. (Source: New York Post)
- The there’s how he solicited donations for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York, using Congressional Letterhead:
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B. Rangel is soliciting donations from corporations with business interests before his panel, hoping to raise $30 million for a new academic center that will house his papers when he retires.
The New York Democrat has penned letters on congressional stationery and has sought meetings to ask for corporate and foundation contributions for the Charles B. Rangel Center for Public Service at the City College of New York, a project that caused controversy last year when he won a $1.9 million congressional earmark to help start it. Republican critics dubbed the project Rangel’s “Monument to Me.”
The congressman has corralled more federal money as well, securing two Department of Housing and Urban Development grants totaling $690,500 to help renovate the college-owned Harlem brownstone that will house the center, according to HUD and school officials.
“It is a personal dream of mine to see this Center at City College, which resides in my congressional district and where so many talented young men and women from the community have gotten an excellent education,” Rangel wrote in a March 7, 2007, letter to real estate mogul Donald Trump, one of the business leaders the congressman has solicited. (Source: Washington Post)
- And then there’s how he paid a below market rate on the rent for four Harlem apartments he owned:
Mr. Rangel, who has a net worth of $566,000 to $1.2 million, according to Congressional disclosure records, paid a total rent of $3,894 monthly in 2007 for the four apartments at Lenox Terrace, a 1,700-unit luxury development of six towers, with doormen, that is described in real estate publications as Harlem’s most prestigious address.
The current market-rate rent for similar apartments in Mr. Rangel’s building would total $7,465 to $8,125 a month, according to the Web site of the owner, the Olnick Organization. (Source: New York Times)
- And issues concerning trips by the Congressional Black Caucus to the Caribbean:
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, will be formally admonished Friday by the House’s ethics committee for violating rules on receiving gifts, the committee announced Thursday.
The issue centers on who paid for his and several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus’ 2007 and 2008 travel to the Caribbean.
While the committee found that the other five caucus members committed no wrongdoing, Rangel “violated the House gift rules by accepting payment for reimbursement for travel to the 2007 and 2008 conferences,” it said in a written statement.
Rangel’s staff knew corporations had given money to the Carib News, which sponsored the events, the statement said.
That fact had not been divulged to the ethics committee when Rangel asked for and received approval to accept the trip, the statement said.
The ethics committee also found that Rangel did not know of the contributions. Nonetheless, he would be held responsible. (Source: CNN)
- And then there’s his failure to report assets on financial disclosure forms:
Last week, we learned that Rangel filed a grossly misleading financial disclosure report for 2007 — failing to report at least half a million dollars in assets.
It turns out Rangel had a credit union account worth at least $250,000 and maybe as much as $500,000 — and didn’t report it. He had investment accounts worth about the same, which he also didn’t report. Ditto for three pieces of property in New Jersey.
Beyond that, we’ve learned that Rangel has failed to report assets totaling more than $1 million on legally required financial disclosure forms going back to at least 2001. (Source: Washington Examiner)
And I could go on and on…but you can check his Wikipedia page if you want more. After all was said and done, the Democratic led House Ethics Committee charged him with 13 ethics violations, which resulted in a 9-1 vote by the committee on November 18th, 2010 to censure him. On December 2nd, 2010, the full House voted 333 to 79 to censure him. As various sources have noted, censure is the worst penalty the House can impose upon its own members short of expulsion. How all the things Rangel did somehow did not merit expulsion I have no idea.
Rep. Rangel is still a member of the House of Representatives, as he has been since 1971.
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA): This representative faced foreclosure on her house in Sacramento in 2008. After her house went up for auction in May of that year, one James York of Red Rock Mortgage bought in on the 7th. Things got interesting from there. According to the Daily Breeze of Los Angeles:
The real estate broker who bought Rep. Laura Richardson’s house at a foreclosure sale last month is accusing her of receiving preferential treatment because her lender has issued a notice to rescind the sale.
James York, owner of Red Rock Mortgage, said he would file a lawsuit against Richardson and her lender, Washington Mutual, by the end of the week, and has every intention of keeping the house.
Washington Mutual filed a notice of rescission of the foreclosure sale on June 2. That puts the bank squarely at odds with York, who has already put money into cleaning up the house and preparing it for resale.
“They owe me the property,” York said. “The sale was a good sale.”
York said an ordinary person would be unlikely to get the kind of consideration that Richardson has received from her bank.
Apparently, the House Ethics Committee cleared her of any wrongdoing, though I do believe the points James York made in the Daily Breeze article are definitely worth considering.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA): Hey, another representative from California, Nancy Pelosi’s home state, mind you. Rep. Waters apparently helped a bank she once owned stock in. According to the New York Times:
Top federal regulators say they were taken aback when they learned that a California congresswoman who helped set up a meeting with bankers last year had family financial ties to a bank whose chief executive asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds.
Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Waters’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 of its stock.
Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators was intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover ofFannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special assistance for his bank, federal officials said.
“It is upsetting to me,” said Jeb Mason, the deputy assistant secretary for business affairs at Treasury during the Bush administration, whose office helped set up the meeting. “This is something that was potentially politically explosive and embarrassing to the administration. They should have at least let us know.”
While OneUnited did not get the $50 million it requested, the bank did become among the first minority-owned institutions to receive a cash infusion — $12 million — in December through the Treasury’s bank bailout effort, called the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
The House Ethics Committee is still investigating the OneUnited case, but Maxine Waters’ corruption doesn’t end there. In 2004, the Los Angeles Times reported that her family members had made over $1 million over the preceding 8 years that Rep. Waters had helped out. According to that article, her response to these allegations was “They do their business, and I do mine.” It’s the same kind of logic that gave us the House Ethics Committee’s conclusion on the cases of Reps. Visclosky, Murtha, and Moran in the PMA Group case.
Rep. Waters is still a member of the House of Representatives.
It’s important to note that, despite all of these scandals I never, throughout all of my research, saw a call by Nancy Pelosi, or any other important Democrat for any of them to resign, even though two did of their own accord. Even in the scandals that might not have merited resignation, did she call for punishment of any sort. These scandals that I have covered run the gamut from personal issues (Massa, Jackson’s affair) to legal issues and corruption (pick one). Not even in the case of Charlie Rangel, who has probably the single most extensive record of scandal and corruption in Congress, did she call for him to resign. Had she been a Republican Speaker like Hastert or Boehner, it is almost certain she would have faced all sorts of pressure from the media to call for them to be punished, and perhaps for her to resign herself. But no, she did little to nothing. She promised that she would “drain the swamp“. She did not. She promised that she would lead “the most honest, most open and most ethical congress in history“. She did not. That she, in her capacity as Democratic House Leader, has allowed these people to remain members of her party and, in her capacity as House Speaker from 2007-2010, allowed them to remain members of her house is perhaps the single biggest scandal of all.