Earl Ofari Hutchinson's take on the politics of the day
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In an exclusive interview on The Hutchinson Report Newsmaker Hour with host Earl Ofari Hutchinson on KTYM 1460 AM Los Angeles on July 22, U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters
EOH: Where do things stand at this moment with the House Ethics Committee probe?
MW: The latest information is that they did bring in an outside legal council to review the committee and look at the allegations and information about the wrong-doings of the committee. It appears they have leaked information, shared information; it appears the Republicans were keeping information away from the Democrats on the committee. A lot emerged out of documents that ended up in the public domain about what they were doing. They could not go any further without bringing in a special outside counsel to investigate and review the committee. That council is to determine what should happen at this point.
EOH: Have your fellow Democrats stood up and supported you?
MW: The members get tied up in this process and are frightened; other people don’t know what’s going on because it’s secret, but now since so much information is public, people are coming forward to say “drop the charges”. Even one of our worst critics, CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington), Melanie Sloan, considered one of the watch dogs, has said the case should be dropped.
EOH: Is the expectation that the House Ethics Committee will drop the charges?
MW: I don’t know what’s going to happen. We are looking at the contract they made with the Special Outside Council and there are problems with it. What we have been able to do is pick this process apart and show it is not an honest process. Whenever they do something, we look at the laws they are supposed to be following and challenge them. We have them under investigation and they are trying to find a way out by bringing in Special Council, but we don’t like the way the contract was written. We believe the chair of that committee, Mr. Bohner, has exclusive authority to cancel the contract any time he wants. In my estimation, if they feel it is not going in their favor, they can simply cancel it. There are other rules we think have been broken, and we will come forward next week and unveil all of that. We will work in detail every step of the way, because we are not just working for ourselves, we are working for others who have been harmed.
EOH: The timing of this so-called case against you had much to do with politics. Do you agree?
MW: A lot of people agree, and have said they want to “silence you”. Some of the committee members on the Republican side are very right wing conservatives. Starting from the point of the OCE [Office of Congressional Ethics] they have former members of Congress and one of them is an ex-CIA director who fought with me when I brought up the information about drugs coming into South Central years ago and the fact they turned a blind eye and basically supported the idea that they didn’t have to do anything about drug trafficking, they simply had to deal with Ricky Ross, the player and recipient in all that. One of the members was the CFO of the George Bush oil company who has shown a great dislike for me. A lot of politics and personal dislike is at play.
EOH: What do the budget cuts mean for John and Jane Doe in our community?
MW: We are all focused on whether or not we are going to raise our debt limits. We voted to talk about how much money we can borrow and have set limits. It is almost automatic that you raise the limit and do your budget and try to work it so you can balance it, or give yourself some room to say if you can’t balance the budget, you give yourself breathing room to continue to borrow money, and put a limit on it. This is the first time it has been used the way the Republicans are doing it. They are saying we know we would ordinarily say yes, but are going to use it now to get all the budget cuts that we want. The new members who have come in have no respect for making government work. It is difficult to solve all of the problems without cooperation from both sides of the aisle. These guys have cast themselves in stone saying we’re not giving an inch unless you cut billion of dollars in social programs; Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid. They are demanding billions of dollars in cuts but are not willing to put any revenue on the table. The Bush administration gave tremendous tax cuts to the richest 1% and we are saying it’s time to cease those tax cuts and let the rich pay their fair share. That will not only help balance the budget, but pay for critically needed programs; health care, Social Security, in which they are demanding tremendous cuts, and will not move an inch. They are the most uncooperative, insensitive legislators that I have ever witnessed; they are willing to bring this government down rather than cooperate to do something sensible for all the people.
They would have you believe that a lot of “unworthy” people are getting money. The senior citizens who have worked all their lives and have this little safety net, are not to be disregarded. We have health care reform to prevent people dying [unnecessarily]. They don’t care about any of that. Once the people understand who they are and what they are doing, they are going to give support to the right kind of budget and to this president.
EOH: Congresswoman Waters will be at The Inglewood Town Hall Meeting to be held Saturday July 23rd from 1:30 to 3:30 at the Inglewood Public Library, Gladys Waddingham Lecture Hall, 101 West Manchester Blvd, Inglewood Ca. 90301. For more information, 323-757-8900.
MW: I’m going to walk through the budget cuts, and help people understand what’s going on; and talk about the confusion about the lite rail system; the toll lane on the 110 freeway and what people can do. Most of all, get involved.