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Rep. Maxine Waters denies any wrongdoing

March 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Los Angeles congresswoman Maxine Waters is reacting to claims she helped arrange a meeting between federal regulators and minority bank executives, without disclosing her husband had ties to that bank.The New York Times reports Waters helped set up a meeting last September between the Treasury Department and executives of OneUnited Bank.

Treasury officials say the session with nearly a dozen federal senior banking regulators was intended to allow minority owned banks and their trade association to discuss their losses from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But OneUnited's chief executive, Kevin Cohee, instead pleaded for special assistance for his bank.

The newspaper claims Waters never disclosed her husband was on the bank's board and owned a $250,000 stake in the bank.

Waters says the meeting was with the National Bankers Association, a trade organization representing minority owned banks, and she did not attend.

In statement released Friday, the congresswoman said:

"Despite suggestions to the contrary, I have fully disclosed all my financial interests in official filings. These filings included the stock my husband purchased upon joining OneUnited's board."

OneUnited is one of the country's largest black-owned banks, with branches in Los Angeles and Miami.

OneUnited did not get the $50 million it requested, but it did receive $12 million through the government's Troubled Asset Relief Program.

Waters won election to Congress in 1990 and is a member of the House Financial Services Committee. She has previously come under scrutiny for activities that benefited her family financially, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In 2004, the Times reported that her family members made more than a million dollars by doing business with companies, candidates that the congresswoman helped.


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