As reported by Politico and Jim Galloway this morning, Rep. Sanford Bishop (D) has determined after exhaustive work and a sweeping search of his constituents that the most eligible people he found to receive three scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation happened to be…his stepdaughter and wife’s niece. Well played, my friend. Well played.
In 2003, Emmaundia Whitaker, the niece of Vivian Creighton Bishop, who is Bishop’s wife, was awarded an education scholarship. She was also given a similar award in 2005.
And in 2003, Aayesha Owens Reese, the congressman’s stepdaughter, was granted an education scholarship as well.
The congressman’s wife, is a longtime state employee in Georgia. She currently serves as clerk of the municipal court in Columbus, Georgia.
A Bishop spokesman insisted the Georgia Democrat did not violate CBC Foundation rules that were in place at that time by awarding scholarships to family members.
“It is our understanding that the CBC Foundation in 2008 revisited the guidelines and processes for its scholarship programs, and as such included language to clarify that CBC family members are not eligible to receive the scholarships,” said Ashton McRae, Bishop’s spokesman, in a statement released by the office. “These scholarships … were awarded prior to 2008.”
Well, that must make everything all right, then. See, it wasn’t barred earlier in the decade! The real question is what value system leads a sitting Congressman to think it’s acceptable to give CBC scholarships to his own family over those more needy in his district. Unless Congressman Bishop believes there is no one more deserving of help then his own family. Doesn’t he care about The Children™?
Interestingly, the scholarship applicants are required to live or attend school in the lawmakers’ districts, have at least a 2.5 grade point average, and “exhibit leadership ability and participate in community service activities,” among other restrictions. For the scholarships granted to Reese and Whitaker, the applicants must be planning to “pursue a degree in the fields of medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition, or other health related studies,” according to the CBC Foundation’s website.
And what did Reese end up doing with her life after planning to pursue a degree in “medicine, engineering, technology, nutrition, or other health related studies?” Why she took a job with the Fulton County District Attorney’s office! Of course! What a logical next step.
Information on what colleges Reese and Whitaker were attending at the time of the scholarship awards or what degrees they were pursuing was not available.
Maybe Congressman Bishop would care to release that information…today?
Much like with yesterday’s story about Bishop, don’t bother asking his aide Jamey Crozier what he thinks about this. He’ll probably just accuse you of racism and threaten to withhold any Federal assistance from his office.