Ethics Trials May Spur Racial Tension

News that Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) will face an ethics charge, coming so soon after Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) was hit with a slew of ethics violations, seems likely to increase tensions between the Congressional Black Caucus and other House Democrats. The caucus has criticized the Office of Congressional Ethics for disproportionally targeting black representatives—Representative and caucus member Marcia Fudge (D-OH) went so far as to introduce a resolution this summer that would strip the ethics office of some of its power. The ethics office has investigated at least eight members of the black caucus since Pelosi formed it in 2009. The divisive proceedings come at a bad time for the Democrats, who are gearing up for what's expected to be a tough election in November. Republican National Committee Chairmain Michael Steele was quick to seize on the accusations, calling Rangel "another example of Speaker Pelosi's most glaring broken promise: to 'drain the swamp' in Washington."