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Open Letter to Barney Frank on OneUnited

From Sean Bielat for Congress:

Barney Frank for Congress
PO Box 260
Newton, MA 02460

October 8, 2010

Representative Frank,

I appreciate that we’ve now become good pen pals. Since you seem to have developed a new fondness for responding to constituents, I would like to draw your attention to some questions I posed back in August which have yet to be answered. It would also be enlightening to hear your responses to the several questions I posed in my response letter yesterday.

The questions I asked in August involve a matter of public trust. You have admitted to playing a role in helping a failed bank, OneUnited, secure a $12,000,000 taxpayer-funded bailout for which they did not originally qualify. You wrote legislation that allowed OneUnited to “cook the books” and claim more stated capital than they actually had in order to receive a bailout. The Washington Post described the episode this way:

“So a dodgy bank with little going for it except access to powerful members of Congress gets $12 million for no evident public purpose and with little chance taxpayers will ever see that money again. Those responsible insist that, according to prevailing norms in the nation’s capital, they did nothing wrong. Worst of all, they might be telling the truth.”

A number of serious questions about your involvement remain. The public has a right to know:

1. After Rep. Maxine Waters came to you and admitted she was violating Congressional ethics
rules, why did you agree to take over the task of bailing out her husband’s bank for her?

2. By offering to take over the task for her, you implicitly acknowledged in your conversation
with Rep. Maxine Waters that her involvement represented multiple ethics violations. Did you
address the violations directly with her? Did you warn her that she was engaging in illegal and
unethical conduct?

3. Why did you not immediately report Rep. Maxine Waters’ ethical violations (and potentially
criminal conduct) to your party’s leadership and the appropriate authorities?

4. Why did you personally return the phone call of disgraced State Senator Dianne Wilkerson
who has been recently convicted on federal bribery charges?

5. When you spoke with Wilkerson, what did you discuss?

6. When was the decision made to funnel more than $12 million to a failed bank that was
recently cited by federal regulators for poor business practices and executive compensation
abuse?

7. What were the factors that went into the decision to bail out the bank when it clearly did not
qualify for a taxpayer-funded bailout?

8. How long have you known that the bank was owned by Rep. Maxine Waters’ wealthy friends
and campaign donors who used depositor funds to purchase a $6 million beach house and a
Porsche for executives to use?

9. Please describe in detail the due diligence that you and your staff undertook before agreeing
to bail out this bank with hard-earned taxpayer dollars.

10. Given that the requests for your help came from a convicted state legislator and an ethically-challenged Congresswoman, why did you not instruct your office to cease and desist any efforts with regard to the matter?”

I hope your response comes as quick as your last letter. You constituents are waiting.

Sincerely,

Sean Bielat

P.S. You’re answer on how best to save Social Security seems to be “do nothing and hope for the best.” Are you writing these letters because you’re looking for policy advice? If so, feel free to drop by our Newton office any time.



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  1. Elaine says:

    I have been waiting to see this. Thank you!