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Waters releases documents in ethics case defense

WASHINGTON - A defiant Maxine Waters disputed charges that she violated House ethics rules and released documents Friday that could undercut the complaint that the 10-term California Democrat sought federal money to bail out a bank where her husband owns stock.

With midterm elections three months away and no trial date scheduled by the House Ethics Committee, Waters made her case in the court of public opinion. "I have not violated any House rules," she said.

Waters is charged with three counts: violating a rule requiring lawmakers' conduct to reflect creditably on the House; violating the spirit and letter of a rule prohibiting receipt of benefits by exerting improper influence; and violating a government code of conduct that prohibits dispensing or receiving special favors.

Waters' primary defense is that she contacted former Secretary Henry Paulson Jr. in 2008 about a meeting for the National Bankers Association, a trade group of minority-owned banks. She said she turned the matter over to House Financial Services Committee chief Barney Frank (D-Mass.) after learning OneUnited Bank was the association member actually needing the aid.

The case appears to hinge on whether Waters was trying to help the association or OneUnited, a bank where Waters' husband, Sidney Williams, owns stock. - AP

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