Thursday, August 26, 2010

Did New Jersey Lose $400 million Education Grant for Opposing Obama & Teacher's Union?


In a state long accustomed to knowing the price you pay for corruption and whose new Republican Governor, Chris Christie, made his mark prosecuting corruption in the state, it seems as if there were some strange actions by the Obama administration, the teacher's union and some of New Jersey's old politicians to inflict cruel and extreme punishment for an innocent clerical error that cost the people and students of the state $400 million in Obama education funds.

The New Jersey application lost the $400 million dollars for two reasons, a clerical error where TWO LINES had the wrong fiscal year data, and because the state teacher's union refused to sign off on the application. Had the reviewers asked the state to correct the two lines out of over 1,000 pages of application they would have received the money. Or, had the teacher's union backed the state plan for students they would have the money.

New Jersey is the only state that was facing a severe financial crisis because of bizarre tax increases and corruption after nearly a decade of Democratic leadership in the governor's office and used the ballot to clean house. The people threw out the old guard, brought in a former straight talking prosecutor, and backed him as he took on the teacher's union to bring sense to the budget and eliminate ridiculous health and pension benefits that would bankrupt the state over time.

That is democracy at work. Unfortunately, the old governor, Jon Corzine, was one of Obama's top economic advisors who had been CEO of Goldman Sachs, the top Obama contributor and fund raiser, and was one of Obama's top political supporters, while he was raiding the Jersey treasury. Obama went out of his way to campaign for his buddy, and the news media said Christie did not have a chance to win. Fortunately, the Democratic party and media no longer tell the voters of Jersey who to elect.

So we know the victory of Christie over Corzine was a huge embarrassment to the Obama gang, in particular the Rahm Emanuel political operatives who grew up playing Chicago hardball. Did I mention the teacher's union is one of the strongest financial supporters of Obama, and of the Democratic Senator from New Jersey Robert Menendez? The teacher's union spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to stop the governor from reforming the entire state budget before being overwhelmed by the people in local school board elections.

Did I mention that Menendez is the head of the most powerful political machine of the Democrats in the Senate, he is Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and a strong Obama ally? Did I mention that two citizen watchdog groups, SourceWatch and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, both say the same Senator Menendez is, well here are their words about Menendez.

Under Investigation by: The Department of Justice.

Under Investigation for: Sen. Menendez is under investigation by the Newark, NJ U.S. Attorney’s Office for collecting rent from an anti-poverty group for which he helped win federal funds, the North Hudson Community Action Corporation. The group was run by a donor to Sen. Menendez’s campaign. More recently, in 2007, federal investigators began looking into Sen. Menendez’s relationship with his former chief of staff, lobbyist Kay LiCausi, to determine whether the senator improperly helped her or her clients win contracts and federal funding.

So why do I mention all these different factors in a story about Jersey losing $400 million? Because I worked for governors (including New Jersey) and congress along with federal administrations and I can guarantee you no applicant for a program of this nature would be denied funds for an obvious clerical error that could have been corrected with a phone call.

This incident has all the earmarks of political retaliation by the Obama White House gang to punish the governor and people of New Jersey for daring to take on the all powerful teacher's union. A full investigation of the application process and the refusal of the federal reviewers to ask for the clerical corrections is surely warranted.

More important, as every insider in Washington knows, a US Senator has more influence than anyone else in Congress. Menendez is supposed to have direct links to Emanuel and Obama because of his Democratic party leadership position. He also has no love for Governor Christie who disrupted the plans of the Democrats to keep control of the state.

If Menendez had done anything to ask the Education Department or Obama to allow the state to fix the innocent clerical error it would have been done because that is the Washington way. Never underestimate the power of a sitting senator. Obviously Menendez did nothing to help his own state and students. Or he does not have the ear of the White House. Also did Menendez call the teacher's union and asked them to sign off for the $400 million benefit to students and teachers? I mean is their hatred of the new governor so consuming that the children of New Jersey are mere pawns in a political -power play?

What happened defies logic, is contrary to the Washington way, seems to indicate the Obama people and Menendez used the action to punish the new Republican governor, and would be worthy of criminal action if anyone in the White House or Menendez's office failed to help the state do something that was always done by agencies, help the applicants have a complete application and receive the money they deserved for the students and people of New Jersey. FOR SHAME!


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