Washington, DC – Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) issued the following statement after learning that the House Ethics Committee has placed Cindy Morgan Kim – the Committee’s deputy chief counsel and its lead attorney on the case involving Congresswoman Waters – and Stacy Sovereign, a Committee attorney who assisted on the case, on administrative leave:
“On Monday morning, the day my ethics hearing was supposed to take place, I reiterated my disappointment that the Ethics Committee canceled the hearing. Furthermore, I referred to the explanation that the Committee offered for delaying the hearing as ‘nothing more than an excuse’, and I called on the Committee 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’.
It appears that we now know the real reason for the delay: Something has gone wrong in the ethics process.
Although the Committee itself has neither informed me directly, nor commented publicly, news reports have revealed that the attorneys leading the Committee’s efforts to build a case against me have been removed from the case. In fact, they were placed on administrative leave on November 19th, the very same day that the Committee announced the hearing scheduled for November 29th was cancelled. It seems their conduct was so egregious, that the Committee’s chief counsel wanted them fired.
The Committee should communicate the reasons for this disciplinary action. Important questions must be answered.
Did the Committee’s attorneys withhold exculpatory evidence? Leak documents or speak to the press without authorization? Engage in partisan activity? Mislead Members of Congress? Was the disciplinary action justified? What impact does this have on my case?
We don’t know the specifics, but we know that the integrity of the Committee and its investigative process have been compromised. The longer the Committee withholds the details of its actions, the more the public’s confidence in the House ethics process is eroded.
From the beginning, I have been concerned with the Committee’s unsupported conclusions, often contradictory arguments, and unfounded negative inferences. It now seems that these concerns were justified, as the Committee’s sanctioning of its own attorneys is an acknowledgement of flaws and failures in the Committee’s processes and handling of my case.
The Committee must reveal immediately the circumstances that prompted its action. Transparency is of the utmost importance at this critical moment.
As I have consistently maintained during the entire course of this investigation, there was no benefit, no improper action, no failure to disclose, no one influenced, and for these reasons, there is no case.”