The scope of the scholarship scandal involving Dallas democrat Eddie Bernice Johnson is widening. After an initial report that revealed 15 scholarships were doled out to grandsons, the kids of a top aid and others, The Dallas morning news now reports since 2005, 25 Congressional Black Caucus scholarships were questionably awarded. Johnson has released a statement insisting that she didn’t know the rules at the time she was awarding the money, which now apparently tops 25 thousand dollars total. That, despite her former role as the chair of the caucus. Johnson is unapologetic about helping kids out, but says the money will be paid back by the end of the week in an effort to rectify the situation. Republicans, including Johnson’s challenger for the Dallas County seat are screaming corruption, but it remains unclear if a Washington ethics probe will result from the scholarship controversy.
Below is Johnson’s full statement on the matter:
“I am proud of the work that I have done for the 30th District of Texas. As a public servant, I have vowed to represent my constituents to the best of my ability.
I have never and never planned to restrict my help to only Texans who reside in my district. My district lines have constantly changed and since I am the only Democrat in the entire North Texas Region, surrounded by Republicans, I have made myself accessible for nearly two decades. Much of my district office casework benefits people outside my constituency. While I am not ashamed of helping, I did not intentionally mean to violate any rules in the process – CBCF Scholarship Rules in particular.
As previously stated, I was unaware of being in any type of violation and never intentionally violated the CBCF’s rules. Further, to rectify this matter immediately, I will reimburse the funds by the end of this week. Additionally, I have reinstituted a non-biased third party objective review committee to evaluate applications and put forth recommendations for future CBCF Scholarships. Going forward, this will eliminate conflicts of interest and consistently remain in compliance with CBCF Scholarship Rules.
At present, I am home convalescing from major surgery. However, I am diligently working to resolve these issues as they are very important to me.”