U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop says he wasn't involved in decisions to award scholarships from the nonprofit Congressional Black Caucus Foundation to his stepdaughter and a niece, an issue dogging his re-election campaign.

The Georgia Democrat told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday that officials at the foundation or spouses of lawmakers involved with the charity must have made decisions on who received the scholarships.

The foundation is closely tied to the Congressional Black Caucus.

The scholarships have emerged as a campaign issue as Bishop seeks re-election against Republican challenger Mike Keown (COW'-en) in his southwest Georgia district.

Bishop has refunded the foundation $6,350 for the costs of scholarships to his family members.