Maxine Waters Ethical Dilemma Essay Sample

Maxine Waters Ethical Dilemma


The essay is a critical analysis of an ethical dilemma in which Maxine Waters is accused of three ethic violations; this is an event that occurred in a span of the last three month, and reported on 9th and 10th of August 2010 by New York Times and Los Angeles Times in that order. The event is fully describe, the problem clearly brought out, my value and ethical stand in relation to Kants’ and Stuart’ philosophies and principles is given (Categorical Imperative and the concept of duty and Utilitarianism and the concept of the "greatest good for the greatest number” respectively). The paper further generates alternatives for solving the problem as well as examination and categorization of the same. Prediction of the possible consequences for those acceptable alternatives and prioritization of the acceptable alternatives are done, finally a plan of action is developed.

Event of ethical dilemma within the last three months

An articled published on 9th August 12, 2010 alleges that Maxine Waters a longtime and the most enduring liberal congresswoman of Los Angeles actively took part in bailing out a bank which had ties to her husband.

An investigative report established that it had substantial reason to deem that Waters did arranged a meeting in 2008 a time of financial crisis between Department of Treasury officials and officials and representatives of minority-owned banks. The discussion only concentrated on OneUnited bank in which Williams between 2004 and 2008 served in the board (Simon, 2010). 

Three months down the line, treasury was called by a senior member of the House committee bestowed with the responsibility of overseeing banking to set up another meeting from where OneUnited was given $12 million bailing funds. This was done when the bank in which Mr. Williams had investments totaling to $350,000 was at the verge of collapsing which meant that he will loss his investment if bailout funds could not be done on time (Lipton, 2010).

The report further claims that Moore, Waters grandson played an active and an inappropriate role in providing legislative assistance for the bank to receive the $12 million bailout funds. In response to the accusation, Waters indicated that she will fight against the charges via a public trial chaired by ethics committee panel which she requests to be done before November this year before election. Waters lawyers termed the charges to be ambiguous and convoluted as they are too general allegations coined on mere facts.

The problem/ethical violation

The problem herein is the violation of laid down ethics which included that members of congress to behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect credibility on the house, lawmakers are prohibited from using their influence for personal benefits and dispensing of favor (Lipton, 2010).

My value and ethical position in relation to the event

Coined from Stuarts’ and Kant’s philosophies, Waters was right in taking the action of helping bailout OneUnited bank although she went contrary to some laid down rules. As a congresswoman, she executed her perfect duly diligently, that of coming to the rescue of the bank. It is worth noting that such a duty if not performed carries blame or are rather blame worthy, although deontological ethical theory holds that morality either forbids or allows certain actions, human opt to act in a manner that the maxim may be in a position to be a universe law for all race, saving the bank from collapsing with peoples saving not viewing it in the point that of her husbands, superseded morality according to Stuarts principles of greatest good for the greatest number(utilitarianism) (Paton, 1947).

Generally speaking, the ethical theories and principles in relation to Waters case are teleology (consequentialism), deontology, ethics of congress, greatest good for greatest numbers, utilitarianism (Sullivan, 1989). I believe that my dilemma and it resolution have been derived mainly from Stuarts ethical theory (teleological) which demands for greatest good for the greatest number since the greatest happiness is on the basis of values that are universal to all pleasure versus pain. It demands that we evaluate the consequences of our actions, if there will be more benefit than harm, then the action opt to be taken, in this case, saving the bank by bailing it out using government funds ensured that investors were guaranteed of their investments, employment and businesses would continue and more so the bank will be back to its feet despite the global financial hitches (Simon, 2010).

Alternatives for solving the problem and there consequences

The available alternatives to solve this case are broadly two, dropping the charges, or facing the law of the land. The later can be done through the US Supreme court or as proposed by her, that of facing the public trial by ethic committee (Lipton, 2010).

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The benefit of dropping the charges against Waters will indeed encourage or rather give her a second chance if she has conscience, it will also politically and socially guarantee her wellbeing she will continue to enjoy the good public image and seen as a savior of a collapsing bank. The possible consequences of allowing not to face any sort of charges will encourage other civil servants to use their social position to benefit themselves, continual dispensing of favor. In addition, crime will go unpunished and no one will ever know the truth of the matter about the One Unit bailing out, she may repeat the same action (Simon, 2010).

Facing trial be it in supreme court of law or through ethics committee will give Waters a chance to clearly bring vital information to light hence defending as well as accounting for her deeds, if acquainted of the acquisition, her public image will tremendously improve, accountability of deed will be stressed since all those implicated will be required to defend themselves in the panel of ethics committee and it may emerge she is not accountable for the action (Mattison, 2000).

The major consequence of this alternative is that if she is found guilty, her values, image and political carrier will be in jeopardy and it will take ages for her to rebuild it. She will also have to live with the filling of guilt surrounding the whole issue of OneUnited bank bailout (Mill, 1974).

Plan of action

In my own opinion, with the backing of analysis of consequences of the proposed alternatives, I hold that Waters going to defend herself publicly in front of the ethics committee is the best alternative.  This will provide her with ample time to provide her side of the story (evidence) in defense of her actions and at the same time account for her deeds. I believe that since people do make mistakes, it will be rational for her if it is established that she did a mistake to be given a second chance, this can be easily done by the ethics committee. Although this is the first time she did such an act, there is a possibility of repetition (Lipton, 2010).

The possible benefits both to Waters and the nation through public trial outweighs the harms, hence the best way to solve the case.


The whole issue surrounding Waters concerning bailing out of OneUnited bank, an ethical issue is difficult to be rushed to in making decisions. But on the basis of ethical theories developed by Mills and Kant, I believe she did a right thing.

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