Justice Department Anti-Crime Grants Under Scrutiny

Congress is investigating grants awarded by the Justice Department to fight crime. Murray Waas, Brian Ross and Anna Schecter have the details. Of particular concern are the funds awarded by the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

One $500,000 grant was given to a golf group. A former staffer says the anti-crime funds are given to programs with the "right" connections.

A key witness will be a former employee of Flores' office, Scott Peterson, who says the grants were awarded based more on politics than merit. "This is cronyism, this is waste, fraud and abuse," Peterson told ABC News in an interview aired on Nightline Monday night. Peterson says the money for the golf program is one of a number of grants awarded to lower-ranked applicants rated in rankings compiled by Justice Department staff members.

"It's a lot of our taxpayer money that's supposed to go for some of our most vulnerable children," Peterson said.

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    Funding Cronyism has 2 goals (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:17:46 AM EST
    They get to fund their buddiess, and then turn around and claim wastefull spending.  All the while not helping the people that desparately need our help.  I can understand looking at your side and candidate and ignoring some of the weaknesses, but I don't understand how these people live with themselve.  How do they justify these actions in their mind?

    The answer to stopping crime is to lock up (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by samtaylor2 on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 11:19:20 AM EST
    All Scott Petersons's and then retro-actively let them out if they haven't done anything wrong :)

    PLease send me my check

    I thought Scott Peterson was on Death Row (none / 0) (#6)
    by myiq2xu on Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 12:09:49 AM EST
    for killing his wife Laci and her unborn son.

    He was a golfer though.


    Religion and Cronyism (4.00 / 1) (#4)
    by mexboy on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 03:13:42 PM EST
    Nightline also said that Flores is a born again Christian and that he would not fund any programs the did not adhere to his religious beliefs. (paraphrasing)

    His staff made recommendations as to the what programs should be funded. The number one program on the list was a youth group in San Diego whose goal it is to keep kids out of gangs. The program was NOT funded because the kids are also given sex education and condoms.

    Flores also never funded any programs for gay youth.

    I do not want my tax dollars in the hands of people whose goal is to enforce their religious beliefs thru government.

    Still not concerned about Obama's; Joshua Generation Project?

    Hey, wait a minute. (none / 0) (#5)
    by Newt on Tue Jun 10, 2008 at 04:53:02 PM EST
    This abuse of public funds is coming from the Republican administration's policies.  How about we see what happens in the next Dem administration before criticizing it.  

    Faith based initiatives have been a big wolf in sheep's clothing, beefing up the right wing communication channels and bolstering their individual careers as well as their organizations and infrastructure.  Some portion of the public money goes to useful causes; too much of it is used to promote our opponents' political agendas.  I'm not sure we can back away from the initiatives, given the supposed good the programs (should) do in our country.  I think the best solution is to catch cheaters like this and engage more of the country's liberal faith organizations to utilize these grants instead.

    As far as the Joshua Generation outreach goes, I think it's an excellent way to undermine the misinformation that is part of the Republican machine, from talk shows to those right wing emails and Christian mailings that millions of people read and believe.  It's not about empowering corrupt evangelists to continue their nasty work, it's about reaching the youth in that group before they're brainwashed by slogans and misinformation about Obama and/or progressive changes.  Imagine middle aged parents talking to their teens or adult children about Obama's Muslim roots, and the kids come back at them with a picture of Obama swearing in on the Bible, not the Koran after all.  Or they'll say they want to vote for McCain because he's the only one who can protect us from terrorists, and they'll reply with some good left wing talking points about diplomacy as the true use of our strength.  Most importantly, it'll be harder for churches to break the law and promote GOP politicians if a big chunk of their audience is already sold on Obama.  

    What better way for the Obama campaign to redirect the conversation among evangelists that to support an intergenerational discussion on that front.  In this case, it may even result in subverting that discussion, to the extent that youth who join the "Yes We Can" movement are more likely to support what they hear from Obama if they're personally invested in his candidacy.  

    I know, I know, we don't know if Obama is REALLY a progressive.  But as I've said before, this is more about the people who support him and the agenda we have for change.  Perhaps evangelists will expect pay back for supporting him, but the best case scenario is a whole new generation might stop thinking that their religious beliefs get to be forced on the rest of the country.  Wow.

    As always, I hope for (and work for) the best outcome.