US Aid Causes Conflict in Kenyan Constitutional Debate

Commotion has been stirred up recently during Kenya's heated Constitutional Referendum debate.  The US has been accused of sending 50 million Kenyan Shillings to a select number of groups in order to promote a YES vote on the referendum, which occurs August 4th of this year.  It has been confirmed by the Daily Nation, one of Kenya's most widely distributed newspapers, that the Obama Administration has indeed provided monetary assistance to these groups.

The Obama administration is providing about Sh50 million to 10 Kenyan groups promoting a ‘Yes’ vote in the referendum, a US congressman said on Wednesday.

Recipients of the funding include the Central Organisation of Trade Unions, the Kenya Muslim Youth Alliance, Christian Community Services as well as theatre groups and peace-advocacy organisations, said Representative Chris Smith.

(Daily Nation)

Chris Smith (R-NJ) has broached the subject in Congress about this issue, claiming that taxpayers shouldn't have to front the money up for this.  It wouldn't be a Republican bash festival, however, without the "tale as old as time" abortion argument thrown into play.  (I can't honestly disagree with him on not using taxpayer money for this, the abortion scapegoat tends to get old however)

Three Congressman have accused the Obama Administration of violating laws pertaining to funds in regards to abortions.  All three are Republicans.  Their argument seems a bit weak if they are solely basing it on abortions, given that the referendum clearly encompasses more than just abortions.  

Mr Smith’s allegations will escalate the controversy over US involvement in the referendum campaign and his detailed list contradicts a US embassy statement on Monday that the government is only supporting the constitution review process.

I believe that the US has a genuine interest in what is best for Kenya, however going about it like this seems a bit wrong to me.  I think positive encouragement without monetary aid is a better road to take.  Regardless, Kenya is in desperate need of a new Constitution.  Whether or not this referendum will benefit them or hurt them, only time will tell.  However, the bill of rights in the proposed Constitution is very strong from what I have read and seems to provide for the people. 

NJ-04: 700 Volunteers Are Making NJ-04 a Late Breaker!

Cross-posted at Blue Jersey.

I want to share with you how excited I am about the incredible effort people are putting forth this weekend to bring the change we need to Washington, DC. In NJ-04 we've got over 700 volunteers talking to voters, handing out literature, making phone calls, and working as hard as we can to win this election.

We're within striking range, so I'm asking you to please contribute through my ActBlue page. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact our Field Director at pete_at_joshzeitz_dot_com. I also encourage you to take a look at our website.

More after the jump.

There's more...

NJ-04: Listen to New Zeitz ad on Smith's Virginia Residency

Today, the Zeitz for Congress campaign unveiled a new radio advertisement titled "Eight Nights." The ad draws attention to Chris Smith's failure to live in New Jersey, having spent only eight nights in the state during 2007, and the recent revelation that Smith received nearly $80,000 in tuition breaks reserved only for official Virginia residents.

You can listen to the ad here.

"After twenty-eight years in Congress, Chris Smith has become a creature of Washington. The voters I speak with are shocked and outraged when they learn Chris Smith refuses to live in New Jersey and does not pay our high property taxes. For many of them, learning Smith receives in-state tuition discounts in Virginia is the final straw," said Josh Zeitz. "It's not too much to ask that our representative in Congress actually lives in New Jersey."

Key Facts:

   * Chris Smith spent only eight days in 2007. [PolitickerNJ 4/28/08]
    * Chris Smith is the only member of the New Jersey delegation to not own a home in New Jersey. [PolitickerNJ 4/28/08] He's saved nearly $60,000 in property taxes by living in Virginia.
    * Chris Smith receives in-state tuition benefits reserved only for official Virginia residents. [Politico 10/20/08]

Josh needs your help to defeat Chris Smith. Please consider volunteering as well as contributing to the campaign. To put it bluntly, the more money we can raise the more play this ad gets on the radio, and the more undecided voters we can reach. We also need volunteers to help get out the vote. To volunteer contact ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com.

There's more...

NJ-04: Zeitz Campaign Challenges Smith Voter Registration

The Zeitz for Congress campaign today requested that the Mercer County Superintendent of Elections investigate Chris Smith's voter registration, and revoke it if she discovers fraud.

The Facts:

1) Smith filed for, and received, in-state tuition rates for his children attending Virginia public colleges.

  1. In Virginia, dependent students are assigned the residency of their parents for determining tuition rates.
  2. Virginia code requires the parents to have "abandoned any previous domicile," in New Jersey in order to receive the $80,000 tuition breaks.
  3. Chris Smith claims he was legally entitled to these benefits reserved for Virginians, but won't produce the documentation to confirm his claim.

More after the jump.

                                                           

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NJ(!)-04-Chris Smith pays IN STATE tuition at U.Va.

This story at Politico is truly amazing. Josh Zeitz's opponent, long-time incumbent (and 'pro-life' House caucus chair) Chris Smith, is paying in state tuition for his child enrolled at the University of Virginia. Smith is, in theory, representing the people of the Fourth District of New Jersey.

As if we didn't already know that Chris Smith was out of touch with his New Jersey constituents. We learned not long ago that, in the last eight years, he has spent maybe two dozen nights a year in his home district (which is not in, say, Alaska, but only a reasonable two hours-plus by train from Washington, DC). He is basically a full-time resident of the great state (no disrespect meant here) of Virginia.

More after the jump.

There's more...

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