The biggest crime of the CBC Members seems to be…
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas), who said she “unknowingly” broke Congressional Black Caucus Foundation rules by awarding thousands of dollars in scholarship money to four relatives and a top aide’s two children, will repay the money, the New York Times reports.
Members of the Black Caucus are given $10,000 every year to award scholarships. They must follow certain rules in awarding the privately raised money, including a requirement that winners not be related to caucus members nor live or study in the lawmaker’s district. According to the Dallas Morning News, Johnson provided 23 scholarships totaling $25,000 to two of her grandsons, two of her great-nephews and to an aide’s son and daughter, all between 2005 and 2009.
At first the Dallas lawmaker denied violating the anti-nepotism regulation, but later said in a statement she made a mistake and would work with the foundation to “rectify the financial situation,” The Associated Press reported. On Tuesday, Johnson’s press secretary, Dena Craig, said the nine-term congresswoman was recovering from surgery and would not be able to comment.
Rep. Donald Payne, (D-N.J.), who chairs the foundation, denounced the “self-dealing” move and vowed to prevent further violations of the scholarship rules.
Johnson, 74, is expected to win a 10th term in November over Republican Stephen Broden. It is unclear if her actions violate Congressional rules. Neither the House ethics committee nor the House Office of Congressional Ethics responded to questions Tuesday, the Times said.