Lawmaker Tried to Aid Bank Partly Owned by Husband
A California congresswoman who this fall helped a bank partly owned by her husband seek government money has said she previously intervened with federal regulators to help clear the way for that bank to buy another firm.
Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) has said she arranged a September meeting at the Treasury Department, where executives of OneUnited Bank of Massachusetts asked the government for money. In December, Treasury selected OneUnited, the nation's largest minority-owned bank, as an early participant in the bank bailout program, injecting $12.1 million.
Waters's husband, Sidney Williams, until recently sat on OneUnited's board of directors and owned company shares worth at least $500,000.
Waters's involvement with the bank dates at least to 2001, when the company, then called Boston Bank of Commerce, bought a minority-owned institution based in Los Angeles. Waters's husband owned shares in the latter firm and, after the acquisition, became a shareholder in Boston Bank of Commerce, according to Waters's congressional financial disclosure files.
The following year, Boston Bank of Commerce tried to buy a second minority-owned bank in Los Angeles. But that Los Angeles bank decided to sell to a bank from Illinois. Waters tried to block the deal. She said she did so because the Illinois bank was not minority-owned, and she argued publicly that the Los Angeles bank should remain minority-owned.
Waters said she contacted regulators at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to see whether the merger could be staved off.
"And I want you to know that I was involved in reaching out to the FDIC in particular when there was another bank that was about to be acquired by a major white bank out of Illinois," Waters said at a congressional hearing in 2007. "And basically, I was told that there was nothing that could be done."As a reminder, this is the same Congresswoman who:Waters's recent efforts on behalf of OneUnited began in September, when the government took control of mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, wiping out the companies' shareholders. Hundreds of banks held those shares as investments, a practice that was encouraged by regulators. The holdings were particularly common among banks that focus on community development, a category that includes many minority-owned banks.
The losses left some, including OneUnited, with less than the amount of capital required by regulators in their financial reserves.
Waters has acknowledged she arranged a meeting between Treasury officials and a group that represents minority- and women-owned banks, the National Bankers Association. A person who attended said the discussion focused on OneUnited, which had lost about $50 million.
In attendance was the chairman of the NBA, who was also the general counsel at OneUnited. The company's chief executive, Kevin Cohee, also was there. They wanted the government to replace the bank's loss, according to a letter NBA sent to Treasury.
Treasury officials say they had granted the meeting at Waters's request, and they were not aware at the time of her ties to OneUnited.
1) Claimed the CIA created the crack epidemic
2) Said she wants to socialize the oil industry
3) Defended the LA Riots, and
4) Tried to get the FCC to close down the LA Times' radio station after the paper criticized her for doing the exact same thing she's doing now, all the way back in 2004.
Funny how people like her yell about "bailing out the people, not the banks," but then do everything they can to help their banks.