A friend lauds an ABC Nightline episode last night about federal Justice Department money channeled to programs run by Bush cronies and favored causes rather than going to programs that actually did much good. J. Robert Flores, the administrator of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, regularly ignored staff recommendations on the best programs to fund.
Among the challenged grants: to the First Tee golf program to fight juvenile crime. (First Tee operates in Arkansas.) It was lauded by Flores as a way to teach inner city kids honesty, integrity and sportsmanship. (That, of course, depends on which golfer is your role model. Do mulligans count?)
"We need something really attractive to engage the gangs and the street kids, golf is the hook," said Flores....
... Flores was appointed to the position by President Bush six years ago and has overseen about $1.5 billion dollars in grants during that time.
His former employee, Scott Peterson, said Flores holds daily prayer sessions in the Justice Department office and frowns on giving grant money to organizations that provide sex education or condoms to teenagers.
Instead, said Peterson, Flores favors programs that promote sexual abstinence.
A Washington, D.C. program, Best Friends, that promotes abstinences was awarded $1.1 million by Flores even though it ranked 53rd on a list of 104 applicants.
Best Friends is run by Elayne Bennett, the wife of Bill Bennett, a former Republican cabinet member and now political commentator.