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Democrats urge release of report on Waters

June 8, 2012 at 10:10 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, June 8 (UPI) -- U.S. House Democrats called for the release of a special counsel's report dismissing claims that Rep. Maxine Waters' rights were violated during an inquiry.

The 69 Democrats said a failure by the House Ethics Committee to release the report would only increase the controversy surrounding the investigation into whether Waters, D-Calif., improperly sought financial assistance for a bank with ties to her husband, CNN reported Thursday.

On Wednesday, the committee's bipartisan leadership sent a letter to Waters that referenced special counsel Billy Martin's findings when explaining the panel's unanimous conclusion that her rights weren't violated.

Reps. Jo Bonner, R-Ala., and Linda Sanchez, D-Calif., also said the panel is entitled to extend its three-year inquiry into the allegations against Walters. Her husband held a financial interest in OneUnited Bank, a minority-owned bank, that received $12 million in bailout funds.

Waters maintains she did nothing improper.

Waters alleged the committee violated her constitutional right to a speedy and public trial and complained about the proceeding's secrecy, among other things. Her supporters also raised questions about the role of race in the investigation.

Responding to the Ethics Committee letter Thursday, the Democrats said the panel must immediately release the report that "forms the basis of their determination to dismiss Rep. Waters' due process concerns" or else the committee's integrity would be questioned, CNN said.

The members said the panel's admission that one staffer invoked the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination when questioned about the investigation and cited findings of "inappropriate and/or racially insensitive remarks" on the part of other unnamed staff members.

"Considering that it was the conduct of the committee that necessitated Mr. Martin's investigation in the first place ... we feel it is absolutely essential that the committee move forward with absolute transparency and release Mr. Martin's report," they said.

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