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At Least the Request Was “Transparent”

In the season of the perpetual bailout it’s become almost impossible to tell what qualifies as “acting quickly to address the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,” and what’s wildly beyond the pale. But I’m pretty sure this shouldn’t have happened:

Top banking regulators were taken aback late last year when a California congresswoman helped set up a meeting in which the chief executive of a bank with financial ties to her family asked them for up to $50 million in special bailout funds, Treasury officials said.

Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, requested the September meeting on behalf of executives at OneUnited, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks. Ms. Water’s husband, Sidney Williams, had served on the bank’s board of directors until early last year and has owned at least $250,000 in stock in the institution. Treasury officials said the session with nearly a dozen senior banking regulators had been intended to allow minority-owned banks and their trade association to discuss the losses they had incurred from the federal takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But Kevin Cohee, OneUnited’s chief executive, instead seized the opportunity to plead for special assistance for his bank, federal officials said.

Maybe Congress can rollover Cohee’s request to fit within the framework of the stimulus or the budget or the second stimulus that Nancy Pelosi says is “in the cards.”



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