A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could face an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the election outlook for the party as it battles to retain its majority. Waters, 71, has been under investigation for a conflict of interest involving a bank that was seeking federal aid. Her husband owned stock in the bank and had served on its board.
Waters is a prominent member of the House Financial Services Committee. Waters came under scrutiny after former Treasury Department officials said she helped arrange a meeting between regulators and executives at Boston-based OneUnited Bank without mentioning her husband's financial ties to the institution. Waters defended her role in assisting minority-owned banks in the midst of the nation's financial meltdown and dismissed suggestions she used her influence to steer government aid to the bank. Waters, like Rangel, could settle her case by arranging a plea bargain with the ethics committee. So far she has decided instead to fight.