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Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson Agrees to Repay Scholarship Money

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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.
Filed Under: Democrats, Ethics

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She "didn't know" she was breaking the rules? Even if there were no rules against feathering her own nest like this , such actions would be morally suspect at the very least. Self-serving and unethical all the way.

September 05 2010 at 6:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If Rep. Johnson isn't smart enough to figure out that giving away scholarship money to relatives is unethical, at the very least, she doesn't belong in Congress. If Joe Citizen had done something similar and used the excuse that they made a "Mistake", I don't think he would get the same leeway. How nice, just pay the money back. I don't know - politicians and illegals are above the law. The rest of us have to watch our six.

September 02 2010 at 10:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Hi Beth

I have lived in the Washington DC area all my long life, was born there, and am surrounded by Senators, Congressman, lobbyists, CEO's, top paid lawyers and so on. I am one of the "shrinking middle class tax payers" that works 2 jobs to support my family and used to respect a lot of our Capitol Hill leaders and lawmakers,( while hearing about the many antics that never make the press) It gets worse each administration. It is a sad commentary that a large portio of our elected officals from county, to state, to national level, feel they are above the law, it does not apply to them. Only us citizens. You should live in this area for 6 months, they are treated like royalty. And their children and relatives all get many "extra Benefits" as we see in this article. They really all feel entitled. Rules and laws don't apply to them! Many of us "peons" in the DC area would not invite any of these politicians over for dinner,they would hog all our food,take the emergency money from our cookie jars before leaving, and then send a bill to us labeled "speaking engagement fee" .

September 02 2010 at 9:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bob B

This is precisely why the public has such a low opinion of members of Congress. Why do we even allow Members of Congress to form 'caucuses' based on race or religion (I understand there is a Muslim caucus for Staff members of Muslim members (there are only two, I believe)of Congress? This practice of exclusivety should be challenged in a court of law. Liberals would be up in arms if someone were to form a White Congressional Caucus. I want to know where these caucuses get their money from to be able to award scholarships in the first place. i had better not be from the taxpayers. I urge the parents of a white child to apply for a such a scholarship from - let's say the black caucus - and if denied, get an attorney to sue the crap out of that Caucus, with the Speaker being one of the defendants.

September 01 2010 at 8:00 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply

This is a classic example of why the everyday individual believes all politicians are crooked and out only for themselves. She should be expelled from her office, period.

September 01 2010 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The teller at the bank takes money out of the drawer for years, after she gets caught she wants to repay the bank !!! same thing, kick Eddie Bernice Johnson to the curb.

September 01 2010 at 2:08 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply

She should go to jail?????????????????????

September 01 2010 at 12:29 PM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply

Well then, I guess eveerything is all right then.

September 01 2010 at 11:56 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

The plea of ignorance of the offense here is considerably more outrageous than the offense. Does this lady expect anyone to buy such a lame excuse? This is the kind of behavior that gives all political office holders, all government workers and government representatives at all levels a bad name. Shame, shame, shame.

September 01 2010 at 11:23 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

How about Johnson be charged with THEFT and using her office to benefit her family at the taxapayers expense. Any other person would be have been arrested and charged and she is not above the law.

September 01 2010 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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