Dallas Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson has been accused of nepotism and abuse in the awarding of thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children. Scholarships came from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.
Johnson has insisted that she awarded the scholarships to family members “unknowingly.” She insisted, “I recognized the names when I saw them. And I knew that they had a need just like any other kid that would apply for one.” She also suggested that there simply were not many other takers in her district: “Had there been more “very worthy applicants in my district, then I probably wouldn’t have given it” to her relatives. That might come as a surprise to folks in Dallas.
I have significant concerns over a foundation that allows politicians to hand out scholarships — $10,000 annually for each member of the Congressional Black Caucus to award in scholarships. Not only are politicians poorly suited for such a role, but the system invites this type of abuse. There are hundreds of worthy scholarship programs around the country that satisfy the rules for non-for-profit organizations. While some members may use a committee and take care in these selections, this foundation allows scholarships to be handed out to garner political support or reward friends.
The foundation’s general counsel, Amy Goldson, said that Johnson violated the rules of the foundation by handing them out to friends and family. She noted, however, the program “operates on an honor system.”
We saw the dysfunctional impact of allowing politicians to pay a role in scholarships and admissions recently in the University of Illinois scandal.
I previously wrote on the problem of nepotism in Congress.
Source: Dallas News