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Congresswoman Maxine Waters

Representing the 43rd District of California In Letter, Rep. Maxine Waters Takes Wall Street Journal Op-Ed to Task

June 21, 2010
In The News

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif) says she wants to set the record straight.

In a letter, published in the Wall Street Journal Friday, the Congresswoman challenged a June 14 editorial in the financial news publication that warned the public that the financial reform bill currently undergoing the reconciliation process in Congress threatens the independence of the Federal Reserve.

The editorial particularly calls into question a provision in the bill that would mandate each government financial services agency, the Fed Board of Governors and the 12 regional Fed banks to have an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion. That section of the bill was sponsored by Waters.

"They want to put a network of operatives at the highest level of government who are responsible for making sure that regulators put the hiring of, and lending to, minorities at the top of their priority list," reads the opinion piece. "The House provision makes that very clear by making each diversity officer a Presidential appointee who must be confirmed by the Senate."

Waters says the WSJ piece "grossly" distorts what she hopes to accomplish with the legislation.

"The Journal mischaracterizes both the intent and the effects of the legislation," wrote Waters. "It is absolutely not an attempt to politicize the Fed or any other agency or to allocate credit by race and gender. Nothing in the bill mandates lending to minorities or women. The provision does not even mention lending."

Waters argues that the minority and women offices will only be responsible for employment, management, and business activities.

"Analysis documents the discrimination that women and minorities face compared to white men of similar educational background and age," she says. "Data from the Office of Personnel Management shows the lack of African-American and Hispanic senior managers at the federal financial services agencies."

Waters says she's proud of the legislation and what it strives to accomplish.