History professor George Derek Musgrove spoke The Greene County Democrat for aSeptember 26th story entitled “Newswire: Cong. Maxine Waters cleared of House ethics charges.” The story concerned Congresswoman Maxine L. Waters (D-Calif.) and her recent acquittal on violating ethics codes in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Waters ws investigated by the House Ethics Committee for advocating for inclusion of minority-owned banks in the federal Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) while her husband Sidney Williams was still invested in one such bank, OneUnited Bank.
Musgrove, a ’97 alumnus of UMBC, recently published the book Rumor, Repression, and Racial Politics: How the Harassment of Black Elected Officials Shaped Post-Civil Rights America, which examines the history of governmental investigations of black elected officials in the United States after the 1960’s and those politicians’ allegations of state and media bias against them.
The professor said that the case could have ramifications in terms of future ethics probes being muddied by partisan applications. “Based on our current political climate, it is all but certain that conflicts like this, both real and imagined, will come up in the future that both political parties will try to use them against the opposition and that voters will find themselves in a difficult position yet again, trying to figure out whether their member really does deserve sanction or if they’re just doing the same thing that everybody else is doing,” he said.