|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 43rd district
January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Joe Baca|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 35th district
January 3, 1993 – January 3, 2013
|Preceded by||Jerry Lewis|
|Succeeded by||Gloria Negrete McLeod|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from California's 29th district
January 3, 1991 – January 3, 1993
|Preceded by||Augustus F. Hawkins|
|Succeeded by||Henry Waxman|
|Member of the
California State Assembly
|Born||Maxine Moore Carr
August 15, 1938
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||California State University, Los Angeles|
Maxine Waters (born Maxine Moore Carr; August 15, 1938) is the U.S. Representative for California's 43rd congressional district, and previously the 35th and 29th districts, serving since 1991. She is a member of the Democratic Party. She is the most senior of the 12 black women currently serving in the United States Congress, and is a member and former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. Before becoming a member of Congress she served in the California Assembly, to which she was first elected in 1976. As an Assembly member Waters advocated for divestment from South Africa's apartheid regime. In Congress she was an outspoken opponent of the Iraq War. Waters was charged, and exonerated, by the House's subcommittee on ethics with violations of the House's ethics rules in 2010.
- 1 Late life education and early political career
- 2 U.S. House of Representatives
- 2.1 Elections
- 2.2 Tenure
- 2.3 Rodney King verdict and Los Angeles riots
- 2.4 Castro and Cuba
- 2.5 Racial politics
- 2.6 Government spending
- 2.7 Haiti
- 2.8 CIA
- 2.9 Iraq War
- 2.10 International lending
- 2.11 Mandatory minimum sentences
- 2.12 Criticism of the Tea Party Movement
- 2.13 Allegations of corruption
- 2.14 Committee assignments
- 2.15 Caucus memberships
- 3 Personal life
- 4 References
- 5 External links
Late life education and early political career
The fifth out of thirteen children, Waters was born 1938 in Kinloch, Missouri, to Remus and Velma Lee Carr Moore. She graduated from Vashon High School in St. Louis, and moved with her family to Los Angeles, California, in 1961. She worked in a garment factory and as a telephone operator before being hired as an assistant teacher with the Head Start program at Watts in 1966. She later enrolled at Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los Angeles), and graduated with a sociology degree in 1970. In 1973, she went to work as chief deputy to City Councilman David S. Cunningham, Jr.. Waters entered the California State Assembly in 1976. While in the assembly she worked for the divestment of state pension funds from any businesses active in South Africa, a country then operating under the policy of apartheid and helped pass legislation within the guidelines of the divestment campaign's Sullivan Principles. She ascended to the position of Democratic Caucus Chair for the Assembly.
U.S. House of Representatives
Upon the retirement of Augustus F. Hawkins in 1990, Waters was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for California's 29th congressional district with over 79% of the popular vote. She has been re-elected consistently with at least 70% of the popular vote in the California's 35th congressional district after significant parts of the pre-1990 29th California Congressional District were folded into the newly defined 35th California Congressional District when California gained seven additional seats in the House following the 1990 United States Census.
On July 29, 1994 Waters was challenged for remarks made during the House Banking Committee’s Whitewater hearings denouncing Rep. Peter King, with whom she had argued the night before. She said, “Men and women, the day is over when men can badger and intimidate women!"
Waters was chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 1997 to 1998. In 2006 she was involved in the debate over King Drew Medical Center. She criticized media coverage of the hospital and in 2006 Waters asked the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to deny a waiver of the cross ownership ban, and hence license renewal for KTLA-TV, a station The Los Angeles Times owned. She said that "The Los Angeles Times has had an inordinate effect on public opinion and has used it to harm the local community in specific instances." She requested that the FCC force the paper to either sell its station or risk losing that station's broadcast rights. According to Broadcasting & Cable, the challenges raised "the specter of costly legal battles to defend station holdings.... At a minimum, defending against one would cost tens of thousands of dollars in lawyers' fees and probably delay license renewal about three months." Waters' petition was ultimately unsuccessful; the station's license next expires in 2014.
As a Democratic representative in Congress, Waters was a superdelegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention. She endorsed Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton for the party's nomination in late January 2008, granting the New York Senator nationally recognized support that some suggested would "make big waves." Waters later switched her endorsement to Sen. Barack Obama when his lead in the pledged delegate count became insurmountable on the final day of primary voting.
Waters had a confrontation over an earmark in the United States House Committee on Appropriations with fellow Democratic congressman Dave Obey in 2009. The funding request was for a public school employment training center in Los Angeles that was named after her.
In 2011, Waters voted against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 as part of a controversial provision that allows the government and the military to indefinitely detain American citizens and others without trial.
On July 24, 2013, Waters voted in favor of Amendment 100 included in H.R. 2397 Department of Defense Appropriations Act of 2014. The amendment targeted domestic surveillance activities, specifically that of the National Security Agency, and if ultimately passed would have limited the flexibility of the NSA's interpretation of the law to collect sweeping data on U.S. citizens. Amendment 100 was rejected 217-205.
Rodney King verdict and Los Angeles riots
When south-central Los Angeles erupted in riots - in which 58 were killed - after the Rodney King verdict in 1992, Waters gained national attention "when she helped deliver relief supplies in Watts and demanded the resumption of vital services." Waters described the riots as a rebellion, saying "If you call it a riot it sounds like it was just a bunch of crazy people who went out and did bad things for no reason. I maintain it was somewhat understandable, if not acceptable." In her view, the violence, was “a spontaneous reaction to a lot of injustice.” In regards to the looting of Korean-owned stores by local black residents, she said: “There were mothers who took this as an opportunity to take some milk, to take some bread, to take some shoes ... They are not crooks.”
Castro and Cuba
Waters has visited Cuba a number of times, praised Fidel Castro, and demanded an end to the U.S. trade embargo. In 1998 Waters wrote a letter to Castro citing the 1960s and 1970s as “a sad and shameful chapter of our history,” and thanked Castro for providing help to those who needed to “flee political persecution.”
In 1998, Waters wrote an open letter to Fidel Castro asking him not to extradite African-American activist Assata Shakur, despite the fact that Shakur is an escaped convicted murderer, former member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, and classified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a domestic terrorist.
After a woman drowned during an attempted escape from Cuba to the U.S. in 1999, leaving a six-year-old son, Elian Gonzales, who survived and requested asylum in the U.S., Waters called on President Bill Clinton to return him at once to Cuba.
In 2001, Waters called Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan a "plantation owner." During the L.A. riots in 1992, Waters described the violence as a "spontaneous reaction to injustice." She held "economic, social, cultural, and political" factors responsible and that the riots should rightly be called a "rebellion" or "insurrection." 
In September 2011, Waters called for the implementation of a federal "jobs program of a trillion dollars or more." "We’ve got to put Americans to work", she said. "That's the only way to revitalize this economy. When people work they earn money, they spend that money, and that's what gets the economy up and going."
Waters opposed the 2004 coup d'état in Haiti and criticized U.S. involvement. Following the coup, Waters led a delegation to the Central African Republic along with TransAfrica Forum founder Randall Robinson and Jamaican member of parliament Sharon Hay-Webster to meet with Aristide and bring him to Jamaica, where he would remain until May.
Following a 1996 San Jose Mercury article alleging the complicity of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Los Angeles crack epidemic of the 1980s, Waters called for an investigation. Waters questioned whether "U.S.-government paid or organized operatives smuggled, transported and sold it to American citizens." The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced it had failed to find any evidence to support the original story. The Los Angeles Times also concluded after its own extensive investigation that the allegations were not supported by evidence. The author of the original story, Gary Webb, was eventually transferred to a different beat and removed from investigative reporting, before his death in 2004. Following these post-publication investigations, Waters read into the Congressional Record a memorandum of understanding in which former President Ronald Reagan's CIA director rejected any duty by the CIA to report illegal narcotics trafficking to the Department of Justice. Undeterred, Waters told the Los Angeles Times in 1997: "It doesn't matter whether the CIA delivered the kilo of cocaine themselves or turned their back on it to let somebody else do it. They're guilty just the same." The same CIA inspector general then released a second volume to this report, wherein his investigative team admitted that CIA assets traded in cocaine and crack, and that the CIA had pressured Department of Justice agencies (such as the DEA and FBI) to drop or suspend their own drug-related investigations of such assets.
Waters voted against the Iraq War Resolution, the 2002 resolution that funded and granted Congressional approval to possible military action against the regime of Saddam Hussein. She has remained a consistent critic of the subsequent war and has supported an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq. Waters asserted in 2007 that President George W. Bush was trying to "set [Congress] up" by continually requesting funds for an "occupation" that is "draining" the country of capital, soldier's lives, and other resources. In particular, she argued that the very economic resources being "wasted" in Iraq were those that might provide universal health care or fully fund President Bush's own "No Child Left Behind" education bill. Additionally, Waters, representing a congressional district whose median income falls far below the national average, argued that patriotism alone had not been the sole driving force for those U.S. service personnel serving in Iraq. Rather, "many of them needed jobs, they needed resources, they needed money, so they're there." In a subsequent floor speech, Waters told her colleagues that Congress, lacking the votes to override the "inevitable Bush veto on any Iraq-related legislation", needed to "better [challenge] the administration's false rhetoric about the Iraq war" and "educate our constituents [about] the connection between the problems in Pakistan, Turkey, and Iran with the problems we have created in Iraq." A few months prior to these speeches Waters became a cosponsor of the House resolution to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney for making allegedly "false statements" about the war.
In August 2008, Waters introduced HR 6796, or the "Stop Very Unscrupulous Loan Transfers from Underprivileged countries from Rich Exploitive Funds Act", also known as the Stop VULTURE Funds Act. This would limit the ability of investors in sovereign debt to use U.S. courts to enforce those instruments against a defaulting country. The bill died in committee.
Mandatory minimum sentences
Criticism of the Tea Party Movement
Waters has been very critical of the Tea Party movement. On August 20, 2011, while at a town hall discussing some of the displeasure that supporters of President Obama have had with the Congressional Black Caucus not supporting the president, Waters stated, "This is a tough game. You can’t be intimidated. You can’t be frightened. And as far as I’m concerned, the ‘tea party’ can go straight to Hell ... and I intend to help them get there."
Allegations of corruption
According to Chuck Neubauer and Ted Rohrlich writing in the LA Times in 2004, Maxine Waters' relatives had made more than $1 million during the preceding eight years by doing business with companies, candidates and causes that Waters had helped. They claimed she and her husband helped a company get government bond business, and her daughter Karen Waters and son Edward Waters have profited from her connections. Waters replied that "They do their business and I do mine."
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) named Waters to its list of corrupt members of Congress in its 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2011 reports. She was accused of using her position to prevail upon officials to meet with OneUnited Bank without disclosing that she and her husband had significant stock holdings in the company. Since she was on the Financial Services Committee she largely had the role of determining where TARP funds would go. 12 Million in TARP funds went to OneUnited without her ever disclosing that she had a financial stake at the company. Citizens Against Government Waste named her the June 2009 Porker of the Month due to her intention to obtain an earmark for the Maxine Waters Employment Preparation Center.
In 2010 Waters came under investigation for ethics violations and was accused by a House panel of at least one ethics violation related to her efforts to help OneUnited Bank, where her husband had been a director and in which he had stock holdings, receive federal aid. Waters' husband is a stockholder and former director of OneUnited Bank and the bank's executives were major contributors to her campaigns. In September 2008, Waters arranged meetings between U.S. Treasury Department officials and OneUnited Bank, so that the bank could plead for federal cash. It had been heavily invested in Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, and its capital was "all but wiped out" after the U.S. government took them over. The bank received $12 million in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money. The matter was investigated by the House Ethics Committee, which charged her with violations of the House's ethics rules in 2010  On September 21, 2012, The House Ethics Committee completed a report clearing Waters of all ethics charges after nearly three years of investigation.
- Committee on Financial Services (Ranking Member)
Previously, she had served on the Committee on the Judiciary.
- Chief Deputy Whip
- Founding member and Chair of the Out of Iraq Caucus
- Member of Congressional Progressive Caucus
- Member of Congressional Black Caucus (CBC); past chair of CBC (105th United States Congress)
Waters resides in the Hancock Park area of Los Angeles, which is approximately six miles west of downtown. Her second husband, Sid Williams, played professional football in the NFL and is a former U.S. Ambassador to the Bahamas under the Clinton Administration. In 1990, Waters, along with 15 other African American women and men, formed the African-American Women for Reproductive Freedom.
- Maxine Waters Preparation Center in Watts, California – named after her while she was a member of the California Assembly
- Co-founder of Black Women's Forum
- Co-Founder of Community Build
- Received the Bruce F. Vento Award from the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty for her work on behalf of homeless persons.
- Lipton, Eric (July 31, 2010). "Ethics Inquiry on Waters Is Tied to OneUnited Bank". The New York Times.
- "Maxine Waters defends herself publicly on ethics charges". The Washington Post.
- Lipton, Eric (July 30, 2010). "Ethics Trial Expected for California Congresswoman". The New York Times.
- "Next up for House Ethics trial: St. Louis native Maxine Waters". stltoday. November 19, 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2011.
- French, Howard W. (February 9, 1987). "SLASH TIES, APARTHEID FOES URGE". New York Times. p. D1. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Maxine Waters, a member of the California Assembly who helped frame her state's pension fund divestment bill, has promised to work overtime to insure that our legislation reflects these guidelines and continues to target any and all U.S. companies that are doing business in or with South Africa."
- "About Congresswoman Maxine Waters : Representing the 35th District of California". Retrieved 2009-03-13. "During 14 years in the California State Assembly, she rose to the powerful position of Democratic Caucus Chair. She was responsible for some of the boldest legislation California has ever seen: the largest divestment of state pension funds from South Africa; landmark affirmative action legislation; the nation's first statewide Child Abuse Prevention Training Program; the prohibition of police strip searches for nonviolent misdemeanors; and the introduction of the nation's first plant closure law."[dead link] (Congressman's official web site)
- Staff Mens News Daily  Rep. Maxine Waters Charged with Ethics Violations; Tuesday, August 3, 2010
- Hawthorne, California; C-SPAN  What is the staff with an eagle on top they keep moving around in the House? What is it used for? 5/3/00[dead link]
- Waters, Maxine (November 1, 2006). "Petition to Deny Request for Renewal of Broadcast License". Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Tribune influenced public opinion in the Los Angeles DMA to harm its residents and one of its most critical public health facilities – the Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center (King/Drew)."
- McConnell, Bill (September 19, 2004). "Your Money or Your License". Broadcasting & Cable. Retrieved 2009-03-13.
- "Station Search Details". Federal Communications Commission. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Call Sign: KTLA ... Channel: 5 ... Lic Expir: 12/01/2014"
- "The endorsements that would make huge waves". The Hill (newspaper). 12/06/07. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). The outspoken anti-war liberal, who campaigned for Ned Lamont (D) over Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) last year, has not picked a favorite."
- Bombardieri, Marcella (January 29, 2008). "Maxine Waters for Clinton – 2008 Presidential Campaign Blog – Political Intelligence". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Bombardieri, Marcella (January 29, 2008). "Maxine Waters for Clinton". The Boston Globe.
- California 2008 presidential primary and superdelegates – Congresspedia
- Bosman, Julie (June 3, 2008). "The Superdelegate Tally". The New York Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Allen, Jared; Mike Soraghan (June 25, 2009). "Obey, Waters in noisy floor fight". The Hill. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- Bernie Becker; Peter Schroeder (November 28, 2011). "Maxine Waters in line to take over from Frank on Financial Services Committee". The Hill. Retrieved 2011-12-07.
- Michael R. Crittenden (December 4, 2012). "Maxine Waters to Succeed Barney Frank on Banking Panel". WSJ Blog Washington Wire. Retrieved 2013-05-23.
- Louise Donahue Rep. Maxine Waters to speak at annual MLK Convocation on February 20 January 15, 2007 Currents (UC Santa Cruz)
- Pandey, Swati (April 29, 2007). "Was it a 'riot,' a 'disturbance' or a 'rebellion'?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 12, 2010.
- Aldore Collier, "Maxine Waters: Telling It Like It Is in L.A.," Ebony (October 1992), p. 38.
- "Waters". The Political Guide.
- "In Castro's Corner". The National Review. 24 July 2008.
- Jihad Hassan Muhammad (2013 May 6). "‘A Song for Assata’ the FBI hunts hip-hop’s hero". The Dallas Weekly. Retrieved November 8, 2013.
- presumably Maxine Waters (1998 September 9). "Congresswoman Waters issues statement on U.S. Freedom Fighter Assata Shakur". World History Archives. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "Aristide says U.S. deposed him in 'coup d'etat'". CNN. March 2, 2004. Retrieved May 6, 2010.
- "Defying Washington: Haiti's Aristide Returns to the Caribbean", Pacifica Radio, 2004-03-15, retrieved 2011-07-01
- "Newsmaker profile - Sharon Hay Webster", Jamaica Gleaner, 2004-03-21, retrieved 2011-07-01
- "Aristide leaves Jamaica, heads for South Africa", CTV News Saskatoon, 2004-05-30, retrieved 2011-07-01
- Waters, Maxine (August 30, 1996). "Drugs". The Narco News Bulletin. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "What those articles traced, among other things, is the long-term relationship between Norwin Meneses, a Nicaraguan drug trafficker, Danilo Blandon, a Nicaraguan businessperson connected to the Contra rebels as well as a drug trader, and Ricky Ross, an American who worked with Blandon distributing crack cocaine in this country. These individuals represent a much broader and more troubling relationship between U.S. intelligence and security policy, drug smuggling, and the spread of crack cocaine into the United States. Letter to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno"
- Cockburn, Alexander; Jeffrey St Clair (October 1, 1999). Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press. Verso. ISBN 1-85984-258-5.
- CIA-Contra-Crack Cocaine Controversy
- "Are You Sure You Want to Ruin Your Career?"
- Waters, Maxine (7 May 1998). "Casey". Congressional Record?. California State University Northridge. pp. H2970–H2978. Archived from the original on Sep 10, 2004. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- "Final Vote Results for Roll Call 455, H J RES 114 To Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq". Clerk of the United States House of Representatives. 10 Oct 2002. Retrieved 2009-03-14.
- Washington Times – Cheney ouster gains backers
- (Gov Track)
- Kenneth Meeks Back talk with Maxine Waters (Interview) Black Enterprise June 1, 2005
- Jenkins, Sally (August 22, 2011). "Maxine Waters to tea party: Go to Hell". The Washington Post.
- Chuck Neubauer and Ted Rohrlich CAPITALIZING ON CLOUT; Los Angeles Times. Capitalizing on a Politician's Clout; The husband, daughter and son of Rep. Maxine Waters have business links to people the influential lawmaker has aided. Dec 19, 2004. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
- "Maxine Waters". CREW’S Most Corrupt.
- "The 14 Most Corrupt Members of Congress". Business Insider.
- Lee, Tony. "On Tuesday, House Democrats unanimously selected Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) to be the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee". Breitbart.
- CREW's Most Corrupt. "Maxine Waters (D-CA)." Retrieved 3 June 2012.
- Maxine Waters: charges highlight mixed ethics record; California Rep. Maxine Waters, a powerful 'liberal institution' in Congress, has raised ethics eyebrows in the past. August 3, 2010 Christian Science Monitor
- "Rep. Maxine Waters is CAGW's June Porker of the Month". Citizens Against Government Waste. April 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-11.[dead link]
- Simon, Richard; Mascaro, Lisa (July 31, 2010). "Maxine Waters faces ethics charges". The Los Angeles Times.
- Schmidt, Susan (March 12, 2009). "Waters Helped Bank Whose Stock She Once Owned". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Ms. Waters, who represents inner-city Los Angeles, hasn't made a secret of her family's financial interest in OneUnited. Referring to her family's investment, she said in 2007 during a congressional hearing that for African-Americans, "the test of your commitment to economic expansion and development and support for business is whether or not you put your money where your mouth is.""
- Lipton, Eric; Jim Rutenberg, Barclay Walsh (March 12, 2009). "Congresswoman, Tied to Bank, Helped Seek Funds". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-13. "Top federal regulators say they were taken aback when they learned that a California congresswoman who helped set up a meeting with bankers last year had family financial ties to a bank whose chief executive asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds."
- Margasak, Larry (September 16, 2009). "Ethics panel defers probe on Jesse Jackson Jr.". Associated Press. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
- Richard Simon (6 August 2012). "Maxine Waters: House ethics panel extends case of L.A. lawmaker". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 10 August 2012.
- Hederman, Rosaline (September 21, 2012). "Maxine Waters cleared of House ethics charges". The Washington Post. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
- Kathryn Cullen-DuPont (1 August 2000). Encyclopedia of women's history in America. Infobase Publishing. p. 6. ISBN 978-0-8160-4100-8. Retrieved 4 February 2012.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Maxine Waters|
- Congresswoman Maxine Waters official U.S. House site
- Maxine Waters for Congress
- Maxine Waters on the Open Directory Project
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Biography, voting record, and interest group ratings at Project Vote Smart
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Legislation sponsored at The Library of Congress
- Los Angeles Times Interview: Maxine Waters by Robert Scheer, LA Times, May 16, 1993
- Top Blacks — Maxine Waters: Distinguished Congresswoman 2001 profile
- Maxine Waters speaks with Street Gangs Media by Alex Alonso, www.streetgangs.com, January 18, 2003
- Haiti regime neither able nor willing to hold fair election by Rep. Maxine Waters, October 19, 2005
- Beyond DeLay — Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) criticism from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington[when?][dead link]
- Maxine Waters interviewed by John Ziegler. (2 MB)[when?][dead link]
|United States House of Representatives|
Augustus F. Hawkins
|United States Representative for the 29th District of California
|United States Representative for the 35th District of California
Gloria Negrete McLeod
|United States Representative for the 43rd District of California
|United States order of precedence (ceremonial)|
|United States Representatives by seniority