Washington, D.C. —
The tumultuous ethics case against Rep. Maxine Waters, one of Los Angeles’ most enduring politicians, took another strange turn Friday as six members of the House Ethics Committee recused themselves from considering the charges against her.
Committee Chairman Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) said that all five of the panel’s Republicans, including himself, and one Democrat were taking the unusual action of recusing themselves from further involvement in the long-running Waters case "out of an abundance of caution and to avoid even an appearance of unfairness." Six new House members immediately were named to the bipartisan panel to consider all matters related to the Waters case.
Waters, a South Los Angeles political fixture since the 1970s, has been accused of intervening on behalf of a bank where her husband owned stock and served on the board. She has denied wrongdoing. The case has taken on greater importance for Waters, who is in line to succeed retiring Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) as the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.
The investigation against Waters has been anything but usual. It has been sidetracked twice -- once by the committee's decision to put off a trial to conduct further investigation and then by allegations of misconduct against the ethics staff.