The campaign for U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, says controversial scholarships given through the Congressional Black Caucus, of which he is a member, to the congressman’s relatives and to the wife of a longtime aide will be repaid.
Calling the claims of wrongdoing against Bishop “outrageous accusations,” Bishop’s Campaign Manager Tim Turner said in an e-mailed statement Friday that Bishop would repay the scholarships in question. Turner, who blamed the controversy on Bishop’s Republican opponent for the Second Congressional District seat, did not say whether the money would be repaid from Bishop’s personal funds. The amount of the scholarships also is not known.
The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships, however, were first reported by Washington-based Politico.
Members of the caucus are allowed to award $10,000 in scholarships each year. According to the nonprofit foundation’s records, Bishop awarded his stepdaughter, Aayesha Owens Reese, a scholarship in 2003. He awarded foundation scholarships in 2003 and 2005 to his niece, Emmaundia J. Whitaker. Also in 2003, Sherletha A. Thomas, who is now the wife of Bishop’s longtime district staff director, Kenneth Cutts, received a scholarship. Cutts and Thomas were not married at the time she received the money.
Fox News recently touched on this story, which is clearly Mike Keown’s fault: