Waters Helped Get Funds for Bank With Family Ties

Critics see major conflict of interest
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2009 6:00 PM CDT
Waters Helped Get Funds for Bank With Family Ties
Maxine Waters Monday participates in a congressional panel in Ohio last June.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Maxine Waters is getting lots of unwanted attention about her role in helping a bank with family ties get a helping of TARP money. Both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal have stories raising questions about whether the California congresswoman used undue influence to get aid for OneUnited, one of the nation's largest black-owned banks. Both she and her husband have had financial stakes in the bank, and her husband served on its board only last year.

Waters set up a meeting between Treasury officials and the bank last fall, in theory to talk about the larger issue of how minority-owned banks were faring. Instead, OneUnited executives pressed for $50 million in cash, the Times notes. “It angers me,” said one former Treasury official. "You got to know you have to be careful when you are dealing with people who you have personal relations with.” The bank eventually got $12 million in TARP funds, even though it didn't seem to fit the usual criteria. (More Maxine Waters stories.)

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