NOVEMBER 08, 2010
As a congressional ethics panel prepares to try Maxine Waters for steering federal funds to her husband’s failing bank, a newspaper reports that the veteran
Citing federal records, the story says that a powerful lobbyist paid Waters’ banker husband (Sidney Williams) $15,000 in “consulting fees” as she co-sponsored a law aimed at saving a business that was among the lobbyist’s top clients. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) had determined that the real estate finance firm and others like it were “scams” and the congresswoman’s measure would have overturned a federal ban that would have allowed the shady enterprises to keep raking in lucrative profits.
For years the firms acted as a middleman to help sellers finance down payments so that low-income buyers could qualify for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The lobbyist who paid Waters’ husband represented the nation’s largest such middleman (Sacrament-based Nehemiah Corp.), which stood to lose hundreds of millions of dollars if the ban wasn’t reversed by friendly lawmakers like Waters.
Implemented in 2008, the federal ban was never overturned but not for lack of effort on Waters’ part. The ten-term congresswoman sponsored legislation three times to stop the ban or repeal it once it became law. She claims she did it because the program allowed hundreds of thousands of low-income families to become homeowners.
News of this latest scandal comes as the House Ethics Committee prepares to try Waters for using her influence to steer $12 million in federal bailout funds to a failing bank (that subsequently got shut down by the government) in which she and her board member husband held shares.
A few months ago the congresswoman got in trouble again for skirting federal elections rules with a crooked fundraising gimmick that allows her to receive unlimited amounts of donations from certain contributors. Instead of raising most of her campaign funds from individuals and political action committees, Waters sells her endorsement to other politicians and political causes for as much as $45,000 a pop, allowing her to rake in hundreds of thousands of dollars in short periods of time.
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