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AP sources: 3 charges filed against Rep. Waters

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The Associated Press
Tuesday, August 3, 2010; 12:21 AM

WASHINGTON -- California Democrat Maxine Waters faces a House trial this fall on three charges of ethical wrongdoing, setting the stage for a second election-season public airing of ethics problems for a longtime Democratic lawmaker.

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The charges focus on whether Waters broke the rules in requesting federal help for a bank where her husband owned stock and had served on the board of directors. She denied the charges Monday.

Persons familiar with the case said Waters is accused of violating:

-A rule that House members may not exert improper influence that results in a personal benefit.

-The government employees' ethics code, which prohibits granting or accepting special favors, for the employee or family members, that could be viewed as influencing official actions.

-A rule that members' conduct must reflect creditably on the House.

The persons were not authorized to be quoted by name on allegations not yet made public.

The House ethics committee's announcement comes just days after it outlined 13 charges against Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., including failing to disclose assets and income, delayed payment of federal taxes and improper use of a subsidized New York apartment for his campaign office.

Rangel, the former House Ways and Means Committee chairman who has served for 40 years, faces a trial in the fall.

Democrats face certain losses in the congressional elections, the first midterms for President Barack Obama, and the high-profile trials could further damage the party's political standing.

Republicans quickly jumped on the latest news. The GOP's House campaign committee released a statement with the headline: "The Dirty Details: Ethics Office Reveals Waters Charges. Panel Has 'Substantial Reason to Believe' Dems Have Another Ethics Problem on Their Hands."

Waters is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, which handled the recent rewrite of legislation that regulates financial institutions and has strong protections for consumers.

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