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Ethics panel to probe 2 Southland congresswomen

October 29, 2009 |  7:15 pm


The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously today to investigate complaints against two Southern California congresswomen, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson.

In a prepared statement, the committee said it was looking into whether Richardson had failed to list real estate, liabilites and income on her financial disclosure forms.

It also was investigating whether the Long Beach Democrat had received a "gift or preferential treatment" from Washington Mutual after her Sacramento house was sold at a foreclosure auction. The lender later returned the the two-story house to the congresswoman.

A four-member committee will investigate Waters' activities surrounding the National Bankers Assn. and OneUnited Bank, a company in which her husband owned stock and served on its board.

Massachusetts-based OneUnited Bank received $12 million in bailout funds three months after Waters, a Los Angeles Democrat and a senior member of the congressional committee that oversees banking, helped arrange a meeting between bank and other minority-owned financial institutions and Treasury Department representatives.

Waters’ husband, Sidney Williams, served on the bank board until early last year and held investments in the bank worth at least $350,000, according to the congresswoman’s financial disclosure report.

—Jeff Gottlieb

Photos: Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), left, and Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach).

Credit: Associated Press, left; Congress