An ethics watchdog is calling for Maxine Waters to give up her chairmanship of the Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee. The House Ethics Committee says they will charge Waters with ethics violations for her cozy relationship with U.S. Treasury officials and the National Bankers Association involving the minority-owned bank, OneUnited Bank. Waters’ husband served on the bank Board of Directors, was a “significant” shareholder. OneUnited received $12 million in TARP monies and donated $12,500 to Maxine’s election campaign war chest.
Maxine is the Chairwoman of the Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee of the House Banking and Finance Committee. She controls a type of housing affirmative action. Here is a portion of what Maxine’s subcommittee does:
Committee Democrats place a high priority on fighting discrimination and expanding homeownership opportunities for minorities, low-income families, and those living in rural, urban and under-served areas. They support strong fair housing enforcement, the preservation of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA),
The CRA, a program mainly devised to make home loans to people perceived to have been discriminated against, and to force lenders to make loans considered riskier than usual, is the direct line to the housing market crisis. CRA likes to be known as enforcing fair lending standards. As Maxine crowed that Fannie Mae, especially, was as sound as could be, the house of cards came tumbling down, and none of it affected Ms. Waters and her husband Sydney Williams.
From Michelle Malkin via The Wall Street Journal:
Waters (along with Rep. Frank) participated directly in pressuring the feds for OneUnited’s piece of the bailout pie. She personally contacted the Treasury Department last December requesting $50 million for the company– and failed to disclose her ties to the bank to them. The government ended up coughing up $12 million in TARP funding for OneUnited — despite another government agency rapping the bank in October 2008 for “operating without effective underwriting standards and practices,” “operating without an effective loan documentation program” and “engaging in speculative investment practices.”
And directly from Malkin:
Oh, and get this: The favored bank of Maxine Waters was also penalized for alleged excessive executive compensation. The FDIC ordered the bank to “sell all bank-owned automobiles,” require reimbursement for executives’ car purchases (according to the Boston Business Journal, OneUnited CEO Kevin Cohee was cruising around in a 2008 Porsche SUV), and cease payments on a $6 million Santa Monica beachfront home purchased by Cohee, his wife who served as bank president, and others.
Responding to scrutiny of the bank’s special treatment, Cohee is now accusing critics of — yep, you guessed it — racism.
The thousands of mortgage defaults and foreclosures in the “subprime” housing market (i.e., mortgage holders with poor credit ratings) is the direct result of thirty years of government policy that has forced banks to make bad loans to un-creditworthy borrowers. The policy in question is the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which compels banks to make loans to low-income borrowers and in what the supporters of the Act call “communities of color” that they might not otherwise make based on purely economic criteria.
The original lobbyists for the CRA were the hardcore leftists who supported the Carter administration and were often rewarded for their support with government grants and programs like the CRA that they benefited from. These included various “neighborhood organizations,” as they like to call themselves, such as “ACORN” (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). These organizations claim that over $1 trillion in CRA loans have been made, although no one seems to know the magnitude with much certainty. A U.S. Senate Banking Committee staffer told me about ten years ago that at least $100 billion in such loans had been made in the first twenty years of the Act.
While the House Ethics Committee makes a shallow show of determining whether Maxine Waters, her relationships and receipts were illegal, let us think about razzing the Housing and Community Opportunity subcommittee. If we take back the House, can we do that? The first video below shows the timeline of the housing meltdown and the second is Maxine Waters saying “we do not have a crisis at Freddie Mac, and particularly at Fannie Mae….”See links to background below the video.
Related and Background:
The above article says CRA regulators believed the lax lending practices were the wave of the future, democratizing the glories of home ownership.