Voice of the People: Democracy In Auction

Voice of the People by James J. DevineBy James J. Devine

Gov. Chris Christie raised $6.2 million for his re-election campaign from about 14,000 donors in all 50 states.

His opponent, state Sen. Barbara Buono, has struggled to raise about $700,000, although she has received another $1 million from the state’s matching funds program.

Crooked political insiders who assume Christie will coast to another term are crossing party lines to cuddle in bed with the heavyweight politician, whose record include raising taxes on the poorest working families, vetoing a minimum wage hike and robbing the affordable housing fund.

A new report shows that Christie also protected the richest two percent of homeowners from massive net property tax increases that dwarf those of his predecessor.

Christie’s former law partner, confidant and fundraiser Bill Palatucci said the money reflects Christie’s popularity throughout the country.

Palatucci recently resigned from his job as counsel for a corporation that profits from operating private prisons, including some that have contracts with New Jersey. That allowed Christie to continue to advance the growing prison-industrial complex in its assault on human rights and fundamental notions of American justice.

Christie is trying to win the Jewish vote by awarding $10.6 million in public funds to an all-male, orthodox rabbinical school run by Rabbi Aaron Kotler, who traveled with the governor to Israel last year and persuaded other orthodox leaders to endorse him this year.

Christie’s politically-inspired spending has caused concern among many who have fought to maintain a wall between church and state.

“Schools that are run by religious organizations are permitted to discriminate both in hiring and their provision of services,” said Ed Barocas, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey. “However, the state is in violation of the law if it provides special benefits, such as millions of dollars of discretionary funding, to an organization that engages in discrimination.”

Princeton Theological Seminary was awarded $645,313, even though it trains students to become Presbyterian ministers. Pouring tax dollars into Beth Medrash Govoha and Princeton Theological Seminary violates the New Jersey Constitution.

It may be illegal and un-American, but since it benefits his campaign, Christie is using $1.3 billion in voter-approved financing for new construction projects at New Jersey colleges and universities for political payoffs.

Christie and state Senate President Stephen Sweeney are perhaps equally responsible for spending taxpayer money to support religious institutions, but the Democrat is a minion of South Jersey political boss George E. Norcross III.

Norcross was given a number of political payoffs by the Republican, including a free pass on bribery and influence peddling, control over the Cooper Health System and state funding for charter schools.

While he was the United States attorney for New Jersey, Christie decided not to prosecute Norcross after an investigation showed the Democratic power broker threatened two witnesses with the loss of jobs and government contracts as political retribution.

Christie is expected to easily win another term but the evidence suggests he is a corrupt politician whose most significant abilities are raising money, quieting his opposition and getting political mileage at taxpayer expense.

The republic is doomed unless voters wake up to this wholesale corruption and rampant deception, because democracy is not an auction.


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