Charles Rangel, Maxine Waters and the House culture of entitlement

Ruth Marcus
The Washington Post
8/4/2010

My favorite part of the ethics report on Charlie Rangel involves his efforts to “close” a $10 million gift “to create AIG Hall” as part of the Rangel Center at the City College of New York.

Yes, that AIG.

…Maxine Waters, the California Democrat who this week joined Rangel in being charged with ethics violations and in awaiting a public trial by the House ethics committee.

Which gets to my favorite part of the ethics report on Waters. Fast-forward a few months after Rangel’s meeting with AIG, to the first weeks of September 2008. This was, to put it mildly, a rather busy time for then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson. The economy was tanking. Lehman Brothers was about to go down.

But when a senior member of the Financial Services Committee calls, the Treasury secretary tends to listen. Waters said she had “some people in town who were important to her,” Paulson recalled, and asked for a meeting with Treasury officials to discuss their concerns.

How important to her? As Waters told the Office of Congressional Ethics, which conducted the preliminary investigation of her activities, “You don’t use your chits for nothing. You call when there is an important issue.”

The issue broadly involved the government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its impact on minority-owned banks. But when Paulson’s aides got to the meeting, they discovered that all but one of the banking industry participants were from one such institution: OneUnited.

Read the entire article at The Washington Post.

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