Rep. Maxine Waters is stepping up her campaign to show she took no inappropriate action on behalf of OneUnited bank.
Waters’ office has released to TPM two letters sent by the National Bankers Association (NBA), a trade group for minority-owned banks, to the Treasury Department, in reference to a September 2008 meeting Waters had helped set up between NBA and Treasury. The letters appear to back Waters’ contention that the meeting, at which OneUnited’s CEO reportedly asked explicitly for bailout money, was not set up exclusively to help OneUnited, but rather on behalf of minority-ownded banks more broadly.
That doesn’t contradict anything the New York Times reported, it’s worth noting. But it does appear to bolster Waters’ claim, made in a statement she put out earlier today, that she wasn’t looking out for OneUnited’s interests above those of other minority-owned banks. Waters has long been an advocate in Congress for minority-owned banks.
Waters also released a 2007 document showing that she disclosed her ties to OneUnited — her husband had previously served on the board, and owned stock — before questioning witnesses at a House hearing on minority-owned banks.
It seems clear that Waters should have disclosed those ties again when she set up the 200 meeting. But it also appears that that meeting, which Waters has said she didn’t attend, was arranged on behalf of minority banks broadly, not as a way to benefit OneUnited.
Given the general level of greed and hypocrisy we’ve seen in regard to the bailout, this looks at this point like a minor misstep.