A GBI inquiry into the employment of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop’s stepdaughter in the Muscogee County marshal’s office has found no illegal activity, the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer reports this morning.
Says the newspaper:
The employment of Aayesha Owens Reese, the stepdaughter of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, and daughter of Columbus Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop, was questioned after a city payroll audit in February.
Reese and her husband, Stephen Reese, worked in the Junior Marshal Program, a middle school mentoring program funded in part by a federal grant that the congressman helped obtain.
The Reeses lived in Lithonia, Ga., at the time of their employment, and both held full-time jobs in the metro Atlanta area.
“I am pleased that the report from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed no evidence of criminal intent or conduct relating to the employment of Aayesha and Stephen Reese or funds related to their employment with the Muscogee County Junior Marshal Program,” the congressman said in a prepared statement.
“I commend the GBI for conducting a swift and thorough investigation, and I look forward now to putting this issue to rest and continuing to serve my constituents in Georgia’s Second Congressional District with the same high level of integrity to which they have been accustomed during my 16 years in Congress.”
GBI agent Rodney Wall, who is in charge of the Columbus office, said the congressman was not one of the more than a dozen people interviewed.
“This was not about him,” Wall said. “The only ties were these were family members of his.”
However, Bishop was concerned enough about the situation that he used $25,000 in campaign funds for legal advice earlier this year, according to Federal Elections Commission filings.
While you ponder the above, consider these items found while perusing this morning’s ajc.com:
Perdue orders state agencies to cut 25 percent from their budgets in June. Synovus president Fred Green resigns. After public outry, Gwinnett County commission chairman takes property tax vote off the table. MARTA unveils higher prices, reduced service to cope with budget stress. Atlanta mayor’s claims of intimidation are a political ploy, police union president says. Site of Piedmont Park stabbing is popular with cruisers. Unemployed could get stimulus-backed funds. Grady Hospital could close its dialysis clinic.
The Luckovich fix: You can stop praying now, governor. Jim Wooten on homes, green space, and union rhetoric. Sotomayor is right, says Jay Bookman. Biography does influence rulings.
From elsewhere in Georgia:
Rome Tribune: Dubose Porter on state priorities, with video. MT: Former Macon resident with letter dragged away from Obama event. Atlanta Unfiltered: City Council to debate powers of police oversight board.
WP: Abortion rights backers get reassurances on Sotomayor. NYT: Pentagon plans new arm to wage offense and defense in cyberspace. Dallas Morning News: George W. Bush to end his public silence with pair of speeches.
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