Bad news arrives on U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop’s doorstep this morning, courtesy of Politico.com:
Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) awarded three scholarships from the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to his stepdaughter and wife’s niece between 2003 and 2005, according to records from the non-profit group.
Bishop is the second Democrat found to have funneled Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarship funds to relatives, threatening to turn the program into a larger political problem for the party. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) recently paid back $31,000 to the foundation for scholarships that she improperly awarded to various relatives and children of a top staffer.
Rep. Donald Payne (D-N.J.), chairman of the CBC Foundation, has promised an “extensive audit of the scholarship program” run by the organization.
Bishop, though, also appears to have favored family members with CBC scholarships.
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.
This comes even before many analysts, including Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia, were reevaluating Bishop’s November chances. From Thursday’s Crystal Ball:
After nearly two decades in Congress in a Southwest Georgia district that is nearly 50% African-American, Democrat Sanford Bishop was not exactly at the top of many Republican target lists.
Given the Republican wave that seems to be brewing, however, and the potential for a greatly diminished minority turnout in 2010, he suddenly is in a fight for his political life. State legislator Mike Keown will be the GOP standard-bearer and he should be able to keep up financially with Bishop, who had just $400,000 in the bank at the end of June.
In a midterm year, and especially this one, Bishop could be vulnerable, so we are moving this from Safe Democratic to LIKELY DEMOCRATIC.
We skipped the Mike Thurmond fundraiser on Thursday that headlined Bill Clinton, after word went out that there would be no press access to the former president’s remarks. Apparently that changed at the last minute. From the Associated Press:
Clinton told the audience, which included Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, and many local lawmakers and candidates, that the country was in the midst of “a crazy time.”
“A lot of people are really angry, and they have reason to be,” Clinton said. “But when you make an important decision in your life when you’re angry, there’s an 80 percent chance you’ll make a mistake.”
Clinton praised Congress and President Barack Obama for passing legislation on issues including the economic stimulus, health care and financial regulation, but said they have not gotten credit for their accomplishments.
“People hire us to fix things,” he said. “They’re not going to get credit until people feel better.”
Still, Clinton said, many Americans have forgotten how the country has gotten where it is.
“They’re up there in Washington, acting like the Democrats caused all these problems,” he said. “They say, ‘Let’s throw them out again so we can get back in and do what we did before. To have an election based on anger, apathy and amnesia is nuts. But that’s exactly what’s going on all over America today.”
The liberal group Think Progress has U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey going biblical on the Republican promise not to raise taxes on anyone – regardless of income status. From a Tuesday townhall meeting:
I had somebody say you know a Contract with America is a little redundant, going back to 1994. And I had somebody suggest at a town hall meeting recently maybe it ought to be a “Covenant with America.” Just as God’s covenant with Moses, really this is a convenant. This is more of a commitment, more than a contract.
This is a pledge of your sworn sacred honor. And maybe that’s the kind of thing that we need to get, to truly get attention and sign it in blood if necessary. So we think it would be not be appropriate at a time like this to raise people’s taxes, at any level. At any level….