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Election Assistance Commission Says New Jersey Must Return Money from Hip-Hop Summits

russell_simmons1.jpgThe U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has ordered the state of New Jersey to return $64,514 in funds that were used to offset the costs of two Hip-Hop Summits aimed at encouraging youth to vote. The summits, which were organized by former NJ State Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, were held in 2004 and 2005 and were attended by hip-hop figures such as Russell Simmons, Wyclef Jean and Joe Budden. Today (March 2), the EAC released an audit indicating that the money spent on the summits was improperly used for “entertainment” purposes, despite the fact that the artists who participated took part in panel discussions and did not perform. The funds in question were distributed under the Help America Vote Act, and helped pay for food and transportation provided to students attending the summits. According to the Asbury Park Press, the EAC considers the use of the money unreasonable because students at other schools were able to view the summits via the internet. David Wald, a spokesman for current NJ Attorney General Stu Rabner, said that the money will be returned.

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