Panel to investigate Waters, Richardson

Oct. 29, 2009 at 7:43 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 29 (UPI) -- A U.S. House ethics panel voted unanimously Thursday to investigate complaints against Reps. Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson, and cleared Rep. Sam Graves.

The House of Representatives Committee on Standards of Official Conduct said its three-month review showed Graves, R-Mo., did not violate House rules or standards of conduct by inviting a friend, Brooks Hurst, to testify before the Committee on Small Business March 4. The ethics panel said it found no need for further investigation of the matter, which had been referred to it Aug. 6.

The Hurst matter came up for review because Graves and his wife are investors in two renewable fuels cooperatives in Missouri and Hurst represents the Missouri Soybeans Association. But the ethics committee said Hurst did not advocate for either of the co-ops in which the Graveses have financial interests.

Richardson, D-Calif., is being investigated to determine whether she failed to disclose receipt of an impermissible gift or preferential treatment from her mortgage lender regarding property she owns in Sacramento that was headed for foreclosure.

The subcommittee will be led by Rep. Ben Chandler, D-Ky., with Rep. Gregg Harper, R-Miss., as the ranking GOP member. Reps. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., and Sue Myrick, R-N.C., will be the other panel members.

Waters, D-Calif., is being investigated to determine whether she or her husband received benefits from alleged communications and activities she had with, or on behalf of, the National Bankers Association and OneUnited Bank. Her husband owned stock in OneUnited and had served on its board of directors.

The investigatory panel will be led by Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla. Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, will be the ranking GOP member, and Reps. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., will be the other members.

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