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Rep. Waters' November 29 ethics trial will not be held

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • Waters blasts the ethics committee, saying it doesn't have a strong case against her
  • Ethics committee made its decision based on discovery of material that may affect the case
  • The case has been returned to ethics committee investigators
  • Waters allegedly directed federal dollars to a bank her husband invested in

Washington (CNN) -- A House ethics subcommittee trial originally scheduled for Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, on November 29 will not be held, according to an ethics committee statement released Friday.

The committee decided to instead return the issue to investigators "due to materials discovered that may have had an effect" on the case, the statement said.

Waters, a 10-term Los Angeles congresswoman, is alleged to have helped steer federal bailout money to Massachusetts-based OneUnited Bank, in which her husband had a financial stake.

Waters has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and insisted she will not cut a deal with the committee. She has also complained that the investigation has lasted more than a year without a trial.

The ethics committee's "decision to cancel the hearing and put it off indefinitely demonstrates that the Committee does not have a strong case and would not be able to prove any violation has occurred," Waters said in a statement after the decision was announced.

"Today, the Committee has brought discredit upon itself and (the House of Representatives) by denying me, and more importantly my constituents, the right to set the record straight."

Waters said that investigators have had the evidence in question since October 29 and that "it does not provide any new significant information." In fact, she said, it bolsters her case that her office acted not only to help minority-owned OneUnited Bank, but an array of minority-owned and small financial institutions.

The evidence is a September 28, 2008, e-mail from Waters' chief of staff to House Financial Services Committee staffers expressing concern about legislative language related to small banks and loan modification terms.

"My staff and I did what we said we did and what we have always done, which is provide a voice in the process for those who lack it," she said.

The ethics committee voted 9-1 on Thursday to recommend a censure for Rep. Charles Rangel, D-New York, in response to multiple rules violations committed by the veteran Harlem congressman.

An ethics subcommittee found "clear and convincing evidence" of Rangel's guilt on 11 counts, including failing to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic, misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes and improper use of his office to raise funds for a public policy center named for him.

Waters and Rangel are both prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

CNN's Alan Silverleib and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.