Apr 07, 2011 2:49 PM GMT
A decision in late 2008 by top officials of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to help a politically connected bank in Boston left federal bank examiners there angry enough that some called it a “travesty of justice,” according to internal e-mails obtained by The Washington Post.
The chairman of OneUnited Bank, a friend of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), had rendered it insolvent through lavish spending and bad investments, according to the examiners’ written accounts. But by the end of that year, after Waters arranged a key Treasury Department meeting for the bank, it had won a bailout loan and a unique exemption from the FDIC’s accounting rules.
“There are some really good people expressing very strong opinions regarding what they view as a travesty of justice regarding the special treatment this institution is receiving,” acting regional director John M. Lane warned in a March 2009 e-mail to Christopher J. Spoth, a senior FDIC consumer protection official.
The claim that OneUnited benefited from assistance organized by Waters — whose husband held substantial stock in it — lies at the heart of unresolved House Ethics Committee charges. A special subcommittee alleged last spring that Waters’s actions related to the bank had brought discredit to the House, a claim that she has rejected.
The ethics charges were to be heard at a special hearing postponed last fall by then-chairman Zoe Lofgren, a fellow California Democrat, partly on grounds that it was too close to the election. Rep. Jo Bonner (Ala.) the panel’s senior Republican, protested that decision, telling a closed meeting on Sept. 23 that “if, God forbid, this thing goes into the 112th Congress, I just think we are stained for life in terms of our inability to get this thing done,” according to a transcript.