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CBC Chairwoman Warns Against Rush to Judgment in Waters Case

Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that the public should not prejudge Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) in advance of a pending House ethics trial.

The Committee on Standards of Official Conduct announced Monday that Waters will face a trial at an unspecified date, after an investigative panel found substantial reason to believe that she violated House rules or other laws.

The panel did not detail the allegations against Waters, but she has been the subject of an investigation since October 2009 focused on her relationship with the National Bankers Association and OneUnited Bank. The latter received $12 million in federal bailout funds in 2009.

In her statement Tuesday, Lee echoed remarks she made last week when an ethics subcommittee initiated proceedings in an unrelated ethics trial of Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.).

“The House of Representatives has a long-standing and well established ethics process, which should be allowed to proceed without prejudging the outcome,” Lee said. “Although the alleged charges remain unclear, some in the media have sought to indict Congresswoman Waters in clear disregard of her right to a fair and due process.”

Lee continued: “Throughout her tenure in Congress, and in the California State Legislature before that, Congresswoman Waters has been a tireless and effective advocate for underrepresented and underserved communities and institutions. She continues to be an important voice on those and many other issues and should not have her rights usurped by politicians or the press.”

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