An ethics complaint filed against Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters of California claims she misused government resources during her controversial trip to Minnesota while the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was ongoing.
Waters is accusing of misusing her ability to request protection from federal air marshals on an April 17 flight to Minneapolis, according to Fox News.
That was the same date that Waters appeared at a Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, protest and said demonstrations need to be stepped up if Chauvin was not convicted of the charges against him — which he later was.
“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business,” she said then, according to Fox News.
That comment was later cited by the judge of the Chauvin trial as grounds for Chauvin’s defense to claim a mistrial on appeal. The comment also sparked an attempt by House Republicans to censure Waters, which failed when House Democrats closed ranks to defeat the motion.
That day, Waters traveled with two armed Capitol Police officers and two U.S. Secret Service agents but wanted more, asking for two air marshals and two more federal marshals to escort her through the airport, according to Fox.
“Congresswoman Maxine Waters utilized numerous government resources inappropriately,” a complaint filed with the House Ethics Committees reads.
“Federal Air Marshals were removed from a ‘High Risk’ flight to cover Ms. Waters flight to Minnesota. The High Risk flight took off with no armed law enforcement on board leaving a gap in National Security,” the complaint said.
“Air marshals can only be assigned to high-risk flights. That means flights that have been deemed through our vetted process that have a security risk,” Sonya Hightower LoBasco, the executive director of the Air Marshal National Council, said.
“When these processes are violated and they’re taken advantage of and they are just tossed to the side now as if they don’t matter, we’re really looking into creating a major problem for ourselves in the aviation domain.”
She said having air marshals accompany the congresswoman left a hole elsewhere.
“Air marshals for Miss Waters trip were assigned high risk missions, they were removed from those missions and assigned to Miss Waters mission on top of her already armed security detail from the Capitol Police,” she said.
“That was not an official business trip. We still don’t have any justification as to why government resources were utilized to fly Miss Waters out to Minnesota.”
“How do you go out and promote defunding the police then call for more police protection,” LaBosco added, according to Judicial Watch.
While Maxine continues advancing her anti-law enforcement agenda, she still demands protection by security detail when she travels.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) May 14, 2021
NEW: Fed Air Marshals were yanked from a high-risk flight so Maxine Waters could have extra security during a recent trip to Minnesota, though she was already covered by a 4-man detail consisting of 2 Capitol Police officers/2 Secret Service agents. READ: https://t.co/oswcKaGurN pic.twitter.com/hiWa5vpTZM
— Judicial Watch ⚖️ (@JudicialWatch) May 13, 2021
The Transportation Security Administration said that protecting lawmakers as they travel became paramount after the Jan. 6 Capitol incursion.
“Following the events of January 6th at the U.S. Capitol, the Transportation Security Administration enhanced security and law enforcement presence throughout the transportation system to include airports and aboard aircraft to protect the traveling public, including Members of Congress,” TSA said in a statement, Fox reported.
But there is a limit, according to David Londo — the president of the Air Marshal National Council.
“Placing [federal air marshals] on aircraft simply because a member of Congress requests it is an egregious misuse of government resources,” he said in an April 20 complaint to the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General.
“The FAMs are now taking agents off of regularly scheduled ‘high risk’ flights to put them on flights with members of Congress, that in most cases have their own armed federal security details onboard already. It has become akin to a type of extremely expensive concierge service for Congressional members.”
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