Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) implored the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (colloquially known as the House Ethics Committee) this morning to "schedule my hearing before the end of the session or tell me, my constituents, and the American public the real reason for this delay."
She continued, "I have been denied basic due process."
The ethics committee delayed Waters’ adjudicatory hearing indefinitely when they voted to send the matter back to the investigative subcommittee after discovering new materials that could have a bearing on the case.
Waters stood outside the House Administration Committee room where Congressman Charles Rangel's (D-NY) trial ended in a censure recommendation the week before the Thanksgiving break. After reading a prepared statement, she took questions including one about what happens if the committee does not hold an adjudicatory hearing before the 111th Congress adjourns.
Waters admitted not knowing exactly what the next step would be. "We want the hearing held before we end this Congress,” she said. “We don't know what happens after that. We can only speculate. It may or may not be a part of a rule. We just don't know, and nobody is telling us."
The lack of transparency in the ethics committee process was a recurring theme in the short press conference. "We just don't understand a lot about how the committee operates,” she said, “and whether or not there are consistent rules and whether or not they bungled this case and whether or not they're ready to move forward based on whatever evidence they have or they don't have.”
Waters said she hasn't met with any members of the committee since the announcement that the hearing was canceled and that she has no meetings scheduled.
She did say she has spoken to committee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in passing. "I just asked her what was going on, could she tell me what was going on,” Waters said. “She just said she was under a lot of pressure."
She declined to talk about the details of the new evidence of the case, saying she wanted to focus on process. "This is how we get to the adjudicatory hearing,” Waters said. “This is about what has happened up until this point. This is about how we can encourage the Standards Committee to go ahead and hold this hearing."
She would not answer a question about whether her husband still owns stock in the bank that is at the heart of her ethics matter.