Washington, D.C. — Today, in response to the House Ethics Committee hearing on the investigation into Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA), CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan issued the following statement:
CREW accepts the conclusions of House Ethics Committee outside counsel Billy Martin exonerating Rep. Waters, but urges the committee to immediately release Mr. Martin’s report explaining why the congresswoman’s actions on behalf of a bank in which her husband maintained a financial interest did not constitute a conflict.
As both Mr. Martin and the committee noted, questions remain about the actions of Rep. Waters’ chief of staff, Mikael Moore. Today we learned that at some point, the congresswoman directed Mr. Moore to stay out of the OneUnited Bank matter. Whether Mr. Moore sent two additional emails to the House Financial Services Committee referencing the bank before or after this conversation is unclear. Further, Mr. Moore’s claim that Rep. Waters directed him to steer clear of the OneUnited matter for just one day does not make sense. Nevertheless, as Mr. Moore did not have a personal financial interest in OneUnited, it is hard to imagine why he would continue to push the issue once Rep. Waters had told him to stop.
Despite the problems with Mr. Moore’s past statements, given that the committee has exonerated Rep. Waters, it is strange that it would find Mr. Moore has brought discredit upon the House. Taking into account all of the misconduct the committee previously has excused, including the clear conflict of Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) and the troubling actions of Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-OH), it is unclear what the Ethics Committee expects to gain by taking such a hard line against a staff member who did not stand to personally benefit from his actions.