Katie Porter, not Maxine Waters, is the reason Katie Porter is not on the House Financial Services Committee

Credit: Rep. Katie Porter official Congressional site.

Rep. Katie Porter has gained quite the notoriety and fan base from her sharp questioning of bankers and financial industry bigwigs during hearings of the House Financial Services Committee in the last two years. But she will not be returning to the high profile committee assignment in this Congress.

And that has the Peacock Left up in arms.

The Democratic "establishment" conspired against Porter to deny her return to the Committee, they charge, because she makes big banks uncomfortable. Specifically, they say Maxine Waters, the progressive giant and Chair of the powerful committee, forced Porter out.

In a column published in The Prospect - the left's version of Tucker Carlson's Daily Caller - David Dayen trains his mark squarely at Waters, accusing Waters, the first Black woman to chair the panel and one of the first members of Congress to call for Donald Trump's impeachment. Dayen's argument is made in bad faith and with bad facts.

One thing should be stated very clearly: Rep. Porter - whom I have a lot of admiration for - is off the Financial Services Committee as a result of her choices, and her choices alone. Porter herself gave priority to the other committees she was assigned to: The Committee on Oversight and Reform, and the Committee on Natural Resources. The Hill reported at the time (emphasis mine):

​​"In a Nov. 30 letter to [House Speaker] Pelosi, Porter asked to be considered for seats on the Oversight and Reform, Natural Resources, and Financial Services committees — in that order — in the new Congress that began on Jan. 3."

"Porter also asked Pelosi to “prioritize” her spot on the Oversight Committee and asked to rejoin the Financial Services Committee on a waiver."

According to the rules adopted by the House Democratic Caucus, certain committees are considered exclusive, and others not. A member who serves on an exclusive committee may not serve  on any other committee, unless the Steering and Policy Committee - the internal body responsible for assigning committee memberships - grants them a waiver to do so. Members also may not serve on any more than two committees with legislative jurisdiction without an additional waiver.

It is important to note here the difference between "non-exclusive" committees and committees with "legislative jurisdiction," as many on the showboating left, like David Dayen, insist on mixing up the two. Whether a committee is exclusive or not is irrelevant to whether it has jurisdiction over legislation. For example, the Committee on Appropriations is an exclusive committee that wields major power over legislation on spending and taxation. On the other hand, the Joint Economic Committee is non-exclusive but does not exercise any jurisdiction over legislation.

It is also important to note that what counts as an 'exclusive' committee for a member changes with their seniority. The Committees on Appropriations, Ways and Means, and Rules are exclusive for all members. The Energy and Commerce Committee is considered exclusive if a member came to Congress after 1995, but non-exclusive to others. Financial Services is exclusive for members arriving in Congress after 2005. Porter was first elected in 2005 and began her first term in 2019.

Why is this discussion important? It's important because Dayen and others seeking to use the incident to feed their Democratic Derangement Syndrome are pretending that Porter was singled out for punishment by Pelosi and Waters by not granting her a waiver to serve on Financial Services while others were. To be fair, Porter is herself claiming the same.

​​Except this is not true. A member is allowed to serve on two committees with legislative jurisdiction, not just two non-exclusive committees. That means Porter would need two waivers: one to serve on a third committee with legislative jurisdiction, and one to serve on an exclusive committee in addition to the two non-exclusive ones she told the Speaker were her priority.

This is where Dayen and Porter's claims fall apart. It certainly is true that other members of the Financial Services panel were granted waivers to be able to sit on it, including some chairs of other committees. But no one was granted two waivers in order to do so. 

Here are the other members on Financial Services also serving on other committees that Dayen uses to claim that Porter got a raw deal:

The Financial Services Committee is not considered an exclusive committee for the three chairs of other committees who will be serving on it: Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velasquez have served in Congress since 1993, and Rep. Gregory Meeks since 1998. Dayen claims that Rep. David Scott got a waiver to serve on Financial Services, but he too would not have needed one, as he's been a member of Congress since 2003.

Dayen uses the committee listing on several other members' Congressional websites, most of which - as well as Committee websites - have not yet been updated to reflect committee assignments from this Congress and still contain information for assignments from the last Congress. For example, Dayen singles out Rep. Chuy Garcia of Illinois, who, like Porter is in his second term, for being assigned to two committees in addition to Financial Services, the same thing Porter wanted. But in fact, Garcia is only assigned to two committees in total, according to a list of committee assignments for the 117th Congress. An examination of Speaker Pelosi's committee announcements verify this.

Dayen, who was once a writer for the ferociously anti-Obama leftist blog FireDogLake, isn't pleased with simply misrepresenting the fair and even-handed process that Katie Porter was subjected to as she sought exceptional and special treatment. He holds out Chair Waters as a bully with a grudge against Porter. This, ostensibly, is because Waters, a seasoned, battle-tested Black leader with a few scars to show for her time 'round these parts, once or twice dared to 'admonish' Porter, a young white woman, for not following Committee rules - as is her job for holding the gavel. The horror.

I don't think even Katie Porter would appreciate being portrayed as the kind of Karen that Dayen insists she is.

It's because of this supposed grudge Auntie Maxine holds against Karen, I mean Katie Porter, that Porter has been unsuccessful at getting any of her legislation through Water's committee, Dayen contends. Further, Waters is suspect for having committed the unforgivable sin of working with Republicans on legislation. The legislation Dayen refers to is a bill Waters and the Committee's ranking Republican member cosponsored to crack down on insider trading. The bill passed the House overwhelmingly with a 413-3 vote, but Porter did not vote.

One wonders whether the fact that she could not be bothered to show up to vote to curb insider trading demonstrates that passing legislation was not her first priority. After all, in the same amount of time, Porter's fellow freshman Rep. Lauren Underwood succeeded in getting multiple bills signed into law.

But nah. It's probably just all the Black lady's fault. Yeah.

If I am coming off a bit too harsh on Rep. Porter, I don't mean to be. I have my fair share of criticism for her, but I like seeing banking executives squirm faced with her sharp intellect as much as I enjoyed seeing Trump's judicial and administration nominees roll up into balls when they faced one Kamala Harris, then a senator from my home state. Notably, Porter's first brush with a prominent government position was when in 2012 she was appointed as the State Monitor to oversee the $18 billion banks were forced to pay the state of California and its residents. The California Attorney General elevating her? Kamala Devi Harris.

It's fair to say that I have, at times, been a fan of Porter's, and I think that Porter will find a way to break through on the Oversight and Natural Resources Committees. I also think that she did not ask to be hijacked by leftists like Dayen and made a martyr.

And it's this hijacking I am not having.