By SUSAN SCHMIDT
WASHINGTON — When Rep. Barney Frank was looking to aid a Boston-based lender last fall, the Massachusetts Democrat urged Maxine Waters, a colleague on the House Financial Services Committee, to “stay out of it,” he says.
The reason: Ms. Waters, a longtime congresswoman from California, had close ties to the minority-owned institution, OneUnited Bank.
Ms. Waters and her husband have both held financial stakes in the bank. Until recently, her husband was a director. At the same time, Ms. Waters has publicly boosted OneUnited’s executives and criticized its government regulators during congressional hearings. Last fall, she helped secure the bank a meeting with Treasury officials.
Her involvement isn’t new. Ms. Waters has detailed her financial ties in a series of federal disclosure forms and has been vocal in public in support of the bank. Those ties, however, have received little public attention. Nor is it well known how the influential lawmaker has over the years acted to support the bank and its executives.