Diary

Another CBC member shown to be a crook

This time it’s Dallas’s resident genius Eddie Bernice Johnson. She took money shaken down from corporations and from other donors to give scholarships to her aide’s relatives.

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers’ causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member’s district.

Oops. It seems that at first she lied about it, and then … well lied about it some more.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so “unknowingly” and would work with the foundation to “rectify the financial situation.”

Initially, she said, “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.” Had there been more “very worthy applicants in my district,” she added, “then I probably wouldn’t have given it” to the relatives.

It looks like she’s setting this up for the “Rangel defense”:

  • I inadvertently went overboard in trying to help people.
  • Once I got caught, I paid the money back.
  • If you don’t let it go at that, you’re a racist.

In case you’re wondering why you’ve never seen much of her on TV, here’s why. She can barely read the statement her staff presumably wrote for her.