During Rep. Karen Bass’ first year in Congress in 2011, she contacted government ethics officials with a request: Could she accept a full scholarship for a graduate degree at USC.
The House Committee on Ethics cleared Bass’ request to accept the USC School of Social Work tuition award, ultimately valued at over $95,000.
Bass, the Los Angeles Democrat, has frequently spoken of how she juggled the demands of an online master’s program during her first three terms in Congress. She graduated in 2015 and credits the USC program with deepening her understanding of child welfare policy and helping her become a national advocate for foster youth.
How she got the scholarship offers a window into the lengths USC has gone to forge bonds with local politicians, a practice that is now facing new scrutiny.
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