Saturday, August 7, 2010


This should not be read as a defence of Rep. Maxine Waters in her upcoming ethics trail in the house. At this point, what we know is that she may or may not have set up a meeting with federal regulators that may or may not have benefited a bank in which her husband owns stock.
When I was a child, almost every politician in the United States was a man, and almost all of them were married. The wives of those politicians almost all had the same profession; political wife and help mate. That's no longer true. During the Clinton administration, Repugs liked to attack Bill Clinton by smearing Hilary. It was noted that as a lawyer, her firm often represented their clients before the state of Arkansas when Bill was governor. A conflict of interest, and a possible opportunity for corruption. Well, Hilary was a lawyer who worked for the biggest law firm in the state , and her firm's clients often did business with the state. Was she required to give up her career so that Bill could be in politics? Or perhaps, Bill should have resigned the governorship so that Hilary could make money at the Rose Law Firm? Like it or not, politicians are no longer, mostly male, and politicians of both sexes have spouses with careers and ambitions of their own. And, since ambitious people often marry other ambitious people, there is a high level of certainty that there will be some overlap in their public lives.
Maxine Waters, as a politician, has a long history of representing, not just her district, but minority interests in general. Should her husband not have a right to pursue a career in banking because of that? Should Maxine Waters give up her advocacy of minority interests because her husband's banking interests may come in conflict with her position in the House? The meeting that Rep. Waters supposedly set up was to aid a number of minority owned banks. Does her husband have an obligation to let the bank that he represents go under because a government bail out may overlap with his wife's career? If Goldman, Wells Fargo, B of A, and the rest of the major financial institutions were to be denied government bail outs because so many former, and future employees pass through congress, than Waters' bank should have been allowed to fail as well. But that didn't happen. All the mega-banks that got government hand outs are alive and well. I don't see any reason why the bank that Maxine Waters' husband is involved with shouldn't have been bailed out as well.

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