It should come as no surprise for anyone to learn that we aren't any great fans of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, except insofar as she provides entertainment value while she struggles in front of the microphone to appear well versed in matters financial. (She is on the House Committee on Financial Services after all). Be this as it may, we find the timing of today's Wall Street Journal piece on the Congresswoman's conflicts of interest curious. Says the Journal:
When Rep. Barney Frank was looking to aid a Boston-based lender last fall, the Massachusetts Democrat urged Maxine Waters, a colleague on the House Financial Services Committee, to "stay out of it," he says.
The reason: Ms. Waters, a longtime congresswoman from California, had close ties to the minority-owned institution, OneUnited Bank.
The piece goes on to outline the many bits of potential self-dealing and conflicts of interest Waters and her husband have been laboring under with respect to OneUnited, and stirs up some older ethics issues, just in case anyone had forgotten.
Be this as it may, why bother?
First of all, we wonder, who among us finds any of this this even remotely surprising? Second, the bank pulled down a puny $12 million in TARP funds. Really, who cares? There is no such thing as being "guilty of a conflict of interest." One simply has a conflict, or there exists the appearance of a conflict of interest. Congresswoman Waters has, so far as we can tell, dutifully disclosed these various pieces of business (shabby though they may be). What remains to be seen here?
Waters Helped Bank Whose Stock She Once Owned [The Wall Street Journal]