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.