Rep. Maxine Waters took to the House floor Thursday to request a statement from the ethics committee “setting the record straight” about the disciplining of two committee attorneys working on her case. The request comes two days after Waters introduced a resolution calling for a bipartisan task force to investigate the panel’s actions.
The California Democrat indicated Thursday that such a statement from the ethics committee could make a task force unnecessary; however, she left open the possibility of revisiting her motion next week.
Waters acknowledged that her privileged motion could effectively be killed by procedural votes and that a bipartisan task force would not have time to complete an investigation of the ethics panel before the House adjourns. Instead, she said that she hopes an explanatory statement could achieve the same purpose a task force would have.
“Upon the advice of my colleagues whom I trust and admire, I am not pushing for a vote on this resolution today,” Waters said. “In doing so, however, I am requesting that the committee set the record straight, on its own accord, in a bipartisan manner, with a joint statement signed by the chair and ranking member, as provided by its rules — which both protects the confidentiality required by the committee and respects the public’s and this body’s right to know circumstances of the events that led to the discipline of the two attorneys leading the case against me.”
Waters has questioned the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct for its decision to put Deputy Chief Counsel Morgan Kim and attorney Stacey Sovereign on administrative leave in November.
Both aides worked on an ethics subcommittee that charged Waters in August with violating House rules, and Waters had been scheduled to face an ethics trial last month. That hearing was postponed until Nov. 19, however, the same day the aides were suspended from the committee.
An ethics subcommittee charged Waters in August with violating the chamber’s rules over allegations that her chief of staff, Mikael Moore, tried to secure federal support for a bank in which Waters and her husband held hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock. Waters has denied wrongdoing in the case.
Jennifer Yachnin contributed to this report.