Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Was Congresswoman Eddie Johnson’s Behavior Out of the Question?

Rep. Eddie Johnson's actions are par for course in today's politics

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse University 

Eddie Bernice Johnson, a congresswoman out of Texas, has found her self in hot water after she admitted that she used her CBC scholarship money as a personal family college fund. Between the years 2005 and 2008, Johnson awarded between nine and 11 scholarships each year. On each occasion, three or four of the winners were either related to Johnson or her district director, Rod Givens. Rep. Johnson claims this was all done unintentionally.

This case concerned me, but while thinking it through, I had to go back to the fundamental question of whether or not this type of nepotism (assuming Johnson's actions were deliberate) is detrimental enough to label her a poor politician or a bad human being.

Johnson is not a bad person or a crook, at least not based on this incident. She's also not worthy of the same kind of congressional hoopla received by the Charlie Rangel or Maxine Waters investigations. Don't get me wrong, when you break the rules, you certainly should be held accountable, and it appears that Congresswoman Johnson understands that. The latest reports say that she has begun working out a deal where she will repay the funds that were misallocated. Perhaps that should put the issue to rest.

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