Judicial Watch • More Scandal For Congressional Black Caucus

More Scandal For Congressional Black Caucus

More Scandal For Congressional Black Caucus

AUGUST 30, 2010

In the latest of many corruption scandals to rock the Congressional Black Caucus, a veteran Texas lawmaker has illegally awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to relatives and the children of a top aide even though anti-nepotism rules expressly forbid it.

Reported over the weekend by a Dallas newspaper, it marks the sixth time in the last few years that a member of the influential House committee is embroiled in wrongdoing. Most recently two prominent members—New York’s Charles Rangel and California’s Maxine Waters—have hogged up the spotlight for their widely reported transgressions, which have resulted in a multitude of ethics charges by House investigators; Rangel for failing to pay taxes and hiding income and assets and Waters for unscrupulously steering federal bailout funds to her husband’s failing bank.

In a federal trial last month, Illinois Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was exposed for his involvement in the biggest political scandal of modern time, a plot to buy President Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat. Jackson and his top fundraiser offered to pay ousted Governor Rod Blagojevich, a convicted felon, $1 million for the appointment, according to court testimony in Blagojevich’s corruption trial.

A few years ago California Congresswoman Laura Richardson got busted for funding her political campaigns with hundreds of thousands of dollars borrowed against three separate homes whose loans she later defaulted on. Before that Florida’s Kendrick Meek, the state’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate this fall, steered millions of tax dollars to a shady developer that employed his mother as a “consultant.”

Now the baton has been handed off to Eddie Johnson, a nine-term Democrat from Dallas who gave her grandson and great nephews, as well as the children of her top aide, more than a dozen scholarships intended for needy students in her congressional district. None of the recipients even live in the area Johnson represents in the House and all violate rules explicitly forbidding awards to relatives of the CBC foundation that distributes the money.

Initially Johnson, who has served as caucus chairwoman and on the board that oversees the scholarship foundation, denied wrongdoing but subsequently said she “unknowingly” violated the rules though she assures that she didn’t “personally benefit.” However, the foundation’s general counsel has determined that the scholarships violated eligibility rules regarding relatives and residency.


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