Thursday, September 16, 2010

Note to self: All Politicians Are Crooks Regardless of Color

Since Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, African Americans without question have voted hook, line and sinker for the Democratic Party. As a consequence of this blind allegiance, we often fail to see the similarities of Democrats and Republicans — namely that regardless of race and gender, they all — for lack of a better term — are crooks and place themselves and their interests above that of the commonwealth. Take the example of Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Texas.


The longtime congresswoman from Dallas is a member of the renowned Congressional Black Caucus. At 74, she is expected to easily win a 10th term in November over Republican Stephen Broden. Recently, Amy Goldson, counsel for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, said that Johnson violated organization rules when she awarded scholarships to her relatives and those of an aide, Rod Givens. Givens served as the district director for the people of the 30th Congressional District.

According to the Dallas Morning News, over the last five years, Johnson awarded up to $20,000 and a total of 15 scholarships to two grandsons, two great-nephews, and aide Rod Givens' children between 2005 and 2008. Each year, each member of the Black Caucus is given $10,000 to award scholarships. In 2009, Johnson selected 12 students to divide $10,000 from two scholarship programs; according to foundation records released Monday. Eight students got one scholarship. The four other students — the congresswoman's grandsons, Kirk and David Johnson, and her staffer's son and daughter, Julian and Mariyah Givens — got two apiece.

These scholarships were awarded in violation of Congressional Black Caucus Foundation eligibility rules, which require that winners live or study in the lawmaker's district as well as the anti-nepotism clause. Initially, Johnson denied violating the anti-nepotism regulation. Now she has changed her position, saying that she "unknowingly" broke Congressional Black Caucus Foundation rules. "While I am not ashamed of helping, I did not intentionally mean to violate any rules in the process," Johnson wrote in a statement released Aug. 30.

Johnson intimated that she might not have picked relatives had there been more qualified applicants. Johnson says she'll repay the scholarship funds by week's end. Johnson's actions are troubling since awarding the scholarships violated anti-nepotism rules and went to students who neither live nor study in her district.

9 comments:

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