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A right to a speedy trial

Maxine Waters

A right to a speedy trial

I am disappointed that the U.S. House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct Committee has once again postponed my hearing and showing a complete disregard for due process and fairness.

For over a year, I have cooperated with the investigation and I have consistently asked for a public hearing on this matter.  I remain eager to present my case and demonstrate to my constituents and all Americans that I have not violated any House rules.

In October, after a lengthy delay, the Committee finally set a date for the hearing and explained that its purpose would be “to determine whether any counts in the Statement of Alleged Violation … have been proven by clear and convincing evidence”

The Committee’s decision to cancel the hearing and put it off indefinitely demonstrates that the Committee does not have a strong case and would not be able to prove any violation has occurred.

The Committee is suggesting it needs more time to review newly discovered evidence that it claims may be material to its case. In fact, the Committee has had this “new” document since Oct. 29, and it does not provide any new significant information.

In fact, the document shows that my office was working to ensure that Emergency Economic Stabilization Act assisted small and minority institutions. The document does not reflect any action on behalf of any specific company.

Although the Committee continues to insist that the “small bank language” was drafted to benefit only one institution, the facts do not support that assertion; in fact, the documentary record directly contradicts it.

As the highest ranking African American and woman on the Financial Services Committee, my staff and I did what we said we did and what we have always done, which is provide a voice in the process for those who lack it.

Furthermore, since the fundamental purpose of a hearing is to evaluate evidence, I am puzzled at the Committee’s insistence on moving backward instead of forward. After beginning its investigation more than a year ago, working to prepare a case for months and realizing it cannot prove wrongdoing, they have resorted to a delay.

If this evidence is so damning, the Committee should present its case before the public, as we asked them to do when I first learned of their desire to postpone the hearing. Apparently the Committee now recognizes — as I have maintained — that there was no benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced, and there is no case.

Before the elections, the Republican members of the Committee felt so strongly about holding the hearing that they were willing to break Committee rules to share their convictions.

Their vote to delay this hearing is contradictory to their public pronouncements. Yet now once again, the Committee is dragging this matter on and denying my constituents the opportunity to hear my case.

Furthermore, the Committee appears to be once again violating its own rules, namely committee rule 20(a) which indicates that a Statement of Alleged Violation can only be amended before transmittal to the adjudicatory subcommittee.

There is no provision or authority for the Committee to take this action, but the same body which is charged with interpreting the rules now seems to be guilty of making them up as it goes along.

Neither the letter sent to me nor the statement on the Committee website cites any rule or clear rationale for this decision.

The credibility of the House is reflected not only by members accused of improper action, but also is reflected by the members who sit in judgment. The public expects those who judge to hold themselves to their own rules.

Today, the Committee has brought discredit upon itself and this institution by denying me — and more importantly my constituents — the right to set the record straight.

Maxine Waters is a  Congresswoman (D-CA). The House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct was to begin the adjudicatory hearing of her case on Nov. 29.