Waters Drops Call for Probe of Ethics Committee

Posted December 15, 2010 at 1:00pm

Rep. Maxine Waters said Wednesday that she is dropping her effort to force an investigation into the suspension of two House ethics committee aides, saying there is not sufficient time remaining in the 111th Congress to conduct a probe.

The California Democrat, who was charged earlier this year with violating House rules, introduced a privileged resolution Thursday calling for a bipartisan task force to review the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct’s decision to put two of its attorneys on administrative leave in November.

But Waters told Roll Call on Wednesday that she will not demand a House vote on the resolution. “You know there’s no time for that,” Waters said in reference to the investigation.

Waters introduced an identical resolution Dec. 7, but likewise canceled her call for a vote on that measure. In a statement on the House floor last week, she called for the ethics committee to issue a public statement regarding its staff decisions instead.

Waters has questioned the ethics committee for its decision to put Deputy Chief Counsel Morgan Kim and attorney Stacey Sovereign on administrative leave in November.

The aides worked on an ethics subcommittee that in August charged Waters with violating House rules, and Waters had been scheduled to face an ethics trial last month.

The subcommittee alleged that Waters’ chief of staff, Mikael Moore, tried to secure federal support for a bank in which Waters and her husband held hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of stock. Waters has denied wrongdoing in the case.

But the ethics committee called off the trial Nov. 19, the same day the aides were suspended from the committee. The committee said at the time that it had received additional evidence and would be returning the matter to the investigative panel for further review.

Kathleen Hunter contributed to this report.