Maxine Waters' Case Must Not Be Tainted By Rep. Rangel's Woes

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[Black Star News Editorial]

Media are lumping the woes of Rep. Maxine Waters together with Rep. Charles Rangel's.

This is completely unfair and uncalled for.

Among the Congressional ethics charges against Rangel is that: he avoided payment of taxes on a beachfront property he owned in the Caribbean; that he unethically solicited corporations to donate to an academic center bearing his name; and that, he did not declare income from residential property he owned; and other alleged violations involving unreported income or tax matters.

Rep. Rangel has not settled the matter and presumably there will be a trial by the full congressional committee--most likely there will be a settlement as Democratic lawmakers are worried that Rangel's woes will drag down the ticket in the mid-term elections.

Obviously, while Rangel should enjoy the presumption of innocence, Rep. Maxine Waters' woes arise from a totally different set of circumstances. When the federal government made billions of dollars available to rescue financial institutions, which were on the verge of collapse, as the recession swept across the nation, Waters correctly anticipated that the Black-owned banks would get redlined.

She therefore lobbied for a meeting between then Treasury Secretary Paulson and the leaders of BankOne, one of the Black owned banks. She also properly disclosed that her husband had a financial interest in BankOne. In fact, according to media reports, her husband's holdings had collapsed by 50% to $175,000.

Yet, Waters wasn't lobbying just for BankOne. The other Black-owned banks, such as New York's Carver Bank, ultimately also got millions of dollars to shore them up. Sure it was convenient that a stronger BankOne --after the bailout-- would also be better placed to preserve her husband's investment.

But it's preposterous to suggest that Waters wouldn't have interceded for all the Black-owned banks --which she did-- if her husband had not had a stake in one of the banks.

Maxine Waters did what more Black elected officials should do--take care of the interest of her constituents.

The charges against her are a sham and utter mockery. It is inconceivable that the Congressional ethics regulations were set up to prevent an elected official from doing the right thing --and by the book-- for her or his constituents.

If she could do it over again, Waters should do exactly what she did--the same way.

"Speaking Truth To Empower."

For free classes in guerrilla journalism taught by Black Star News Publisher Milton Allimadi, call (347) 257-7330 or just show up with a pen and notebook or laptop every Monday from 6PM-8PM at True South Bookstore at 492 in Brooklyn's BedStuy neighborhood.

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