A Dallas congresswoman refused to answer questions Wednesday about the scholarship scandal that has haunted her re-election campaign for weeks.
Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, D-Dallas, made one of her first public appearances since revelations that scholarships under her control improperly went to family and friends instead of eligible students in her district.
At Dallas City Hall, Johnson helped present a federal check to Dallas for $2,225,000 to be used to help build affordable housing near Dallas Area Rapid Transit rail stations.
Johnson praised city leaders for their cooperation but refused to answer questions about the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation scholarships. Her aides said her attorneys have told her not to discuss the issue.
But she said she does talk to voters about it.
"Whatever they ask, I answer," she said.
Her Republican opponent, the Rev. Stephen Broden, said she owes her constituents a better explanation.
"What she did is say, 'I paid the money back. It's over,'" he said. "That's not the kind of response I think the people in the district are looking for -- 'We need to acknowledge that we've done something wrong here, and we'll do what's required to fix it.' She hasn't done that."
City Council members praised Johnson for helping to secure the funds and other federal grants. Her supporters say it is an example of Johnson's many accomplishments in 18 years as a member of Congress.
But Broden said Johnson, who represents a heavily Democratic district, has not accomplished enough.
"Eddie Bernice Johnson has not been the kind of representative that supports the best interests of the district," he said.
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