Today's Washington Post has an interesting article: Funding Of Election Monitors A Concern. (Thanks for the link, Julie!)
Honest or not, election is a terribly expensive pastime...
Hundreds of U.S. and European monitors are traveling to Kiev to observe Sunday's runoff, including some funded by the U.S. government through the State Department and the Agency for International Development (USAID). Together, they have dispersed $7.9 million to help Ukrainian and American pro-democracy groups monitor the elections and $13. 7 million for "activities related to the presidential election."
One of my best friends works at a Kyiv museum for a salary of approximately $50 a month. I've known quite a few people who couldn't dream of ever making more than $400 a month in this country. Please trust me, they are all educated, hard-working people - and they aren't some crazy exception in an otherwise rich country.
So it's quite mind-boggling to read about "a group of Democratic former congressmen" who came to Ukraine to observe the first round of the election and will most likely be here tomorrow, observing the second round and receiving $500 a day from "a Washington-based lobbyist who is a registered representative of the pro-Russian candidate in the race, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych."
Robert M. Carr, an 18-year Democratic House veteran from Michigan" said this about the financial side of his involvement in the democratic process in Ukraine: "They didn't buy my judgment; they bought my time to reach a judgment.
In an e-mail sent last week to former congressmen, Carr solicited members for a new delegation to monitor the runoff election. He said in the note that all expenses would be paid for a five-day trip, including business-class airfare and "the best possible hotel accommodations."
"In addition, a $500.00 per day stipend will be earned," he wrote. He did not mention the source of the funds.