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House Ethics Committee Clears Maxine Waters in Conflict of Interest Case

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Martin has racked up significant legal fees. The first contract awarded by the House to oversee the Waters investigation authorized Martin to bill up to $500,000. When that contract was poised to expire, the Ethics Committee requested and received an extension from the House Administration Committee, which greenlights contracts between Members and outside groups. This time, the contract authorized an additional $500,000. The final contract extended an additional authorization of funds, not to exceed $500,000, through December 2012.

Though it would first appear that Martin might have earned as much as $1.5 million, an aide with the House Administration Committee explained that each time a new contract was awarded, all the funds that were not used under the previous contract were essentially forfeited.

According to a source familiar with the process, Martin did not spend all the funds authorized in the first two contracts, and it was not immediately known how much of the final $500,000 authorization Martin had used.

The source said that House Administration Committee Democrats had significant reservations about approving a third funding authorization to Martin, given how much time and money it was taking to reach a conclusion. The source described "reluctance" on the part of committee Democrats to defer to the Ethics Committee's request.

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