Former Congressman Is Indicted Over Ties to Islamic Charity
Posted 18 January 2008 - 03:23 PM
WASHINGTON — A former Republican congressman from Michigan was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of money laundering and obstruction of justice. The charges involve his work as a lobbyist for an Islamic charity accused of illegally funneling about $130,000 to an Afghan warlord labeled a terrorist by the United States government.
The former congressman, Mark D. Siljander, who was defeated for re-election in 1986 after three terms in the House, was accused by a federal grand jury in Kansas City of accepting $50,000 in stolen government aid money as his lobbying fee from the now-defunct charity group, the Islamic American Relief Agency.
The charity — based in Columbia, Mo., and closed in 2004 — and several of its former leaders were already under indictment on charges of illegally transferring money to Iraq and stealing government money.
The broader indictment issued Wednesday also accused the charity and its former officers of transferring about $130,000 to Pakistan for the benefit of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister of Afghanistan. Mr. Hekmatyar is a warlord who has been formally designated a terrorist by the United States because of his links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Mr. Siljander, a conservative who runs a Washington consulting firm, was not accused of involvement in money transfers to Mr. Hekmatyar.
“This superseding indictment paints a troubling picture of an American charity organization engaged in transactions for the benefit of terrorists and conspired with a former United States congressman to convert stolen federal funds into payment for his advocacy on behalf of the charity,” said Kenneth L. Wainstein, an assistant attorney general for national security.
A lawyer for Mr. Siljander, James R. Hobbs, said Mr. Siljander “vehemently denies the allegations” and would plead not guilty. Mr. Hobbs said Mr. Siljander was never an officer of the charity group “nor was he ever involved in any alleged efforts by I.A.R.A. to engage in any prohibited financial transactions with any U.S.-designated terrorist.”
Mr. Siljander, 57, was best known in the House for his fierce opposition to abortion and gay rights. He tried to block a $581,000 Justice Department grant to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 1985 because he considered the group to be run by “pro-abortion, pro-lesbian, anti-Reagan radical feminists.”
Posted 18 January 2008 - 03:36 PM
RIP Major/Dr. John Paul Pryor killed in Iraq on 12/25/08. You will be greatly missed and can never be replaced.
What Happened To Dr Pryor?
You might be a Redneck if you brag about running a email@example.com
Posted 18 January 2008 - 08:54 PM
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