Washington, D.C. – After reading the letter from the House Committee on Ethics to Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) regarding the investigation of the congresswoman and the committee’s handling of the allegations against her, CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan issued the following statement:
Apparently, Billy Martin, the special counsel hired by the Ethics Committee to investigate its handling of the Waters case has completed his work and issued a report. We can’t be sure though as – mystifyingly – the committee has not released Mr. Martin’s report. Instead, the committee expects the public to simply accept its characterization of Mr. Martin’s findings.
The committee should immediately release the report both to restore public confidence in the committee process and to allow Rep. Waters to respond. Both the public and Ms. Waters have a right to know what confidential information was leaked and what “racially insensitive” remarks were made and by whom. Given the committee’s troubled handling of the Waters matter, “trust us,” doesn’t cut it.
In addition, the committee notes that a former committee staff member invoked a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned about leaking documents related to the case. The committee, which apparently made no effort to compel the staff member’s testimony, should immediately make a referral to the Department of Justice for an investigation into whether the staffer violated any criminal laws.
While CREW is no apologist for Rep. Waters, the committee’s action today offers remarkably little clarity into what happened and why.