Meredith McGehee, policy director for the Campaign Legal Center, said it appears that Johnson used her position to benefit a family member, which at the very least may have violated the Code of Ethics for Government Service.If there is some improprieties I'm not entirely certain that the CBC would refer this matter to the ethics committee. They strike me as very monolithic and I think that's unfortunate!
But Melanie Sloan, executive director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, believes any investigation should begin with CBC Foundation executives because Johnson violated its rules. Sloan believes the foundation should do a full investigation and issue a public report on the circumstances surrounding the scholarships.
“While awarding scholarships to relatives is inexcusable in any event, the more serious question is whether Rep. Johnson knew she was violating the rules when she made the awards,” Sloan said.
If the foundation determines Johnson deliberately violated rules, Sloan said a CBC member should refer the matter to the ethics committee to determine whether her conduct "reflects creditably" on the House. Sloan also said the CBC should consider appointing an outside counsel who has served as a prosecutor to investigate and determine which rules or laws may have been broken.
Craig Holman of Public Citizen said he doesn’t believe the story will prompt an ethics probe because Johnson admitted mistakenly violating the foundation’s nepotism rules and appears ready to reimburse the funds.
“The only issue that could generate further investigation is whether the mistakes were intentional,” Holman said. “But given that there is no evidence to that effect, she has remedied the problem.”