Republicans and Democrats were the recipients of about $2 million in lobbying dollars secretly funneled into a U.S. nonprofit by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, U.S. law enforcement officials said in court documents filed Tuesday.
Syed Ghulam Fai, who chaired the Kashmiri American Council, and Zaheer Ahmad, were arrested earlier today on charges that their group acted as an unregistered front for the ISI and Pakistan’s government, receiving millions in donations from foreign sources.
FBI agent Sarah Webb Linden wrote in court documents that the group took in up to $700,000 a year from Pakistan and distributed much of it to U.S. lawmakers in both parties.
Recipients included the National Republican Senatorial Committee ($4,500), President Barack Obama ($250), the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee ($250), Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) ($2,000), Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) ($2,000) and others.
Investigators said that lawmakers had no way of knowing the money was coming from Pakistan. The Pakistani embassy has denied knowledge of the arrangement.
Word of the donations comes at a crucial moment for U.S.-Pakistani relations, which have strained to the breaking point after President Obama ordered the assassination of terrorist Osama bin Laden, who had spent years hiding in Abottabad, Pakistan, near a military installation.
The Obama administration earlier this month cut of some $800 million in foreign military aid to Pakistan after the country began delaying visa applications for Americans, ostensibly to protest the raid that killed bin Laden.
A bill making its way through the U.S. House of Representatives sought to eliminate any further aid to the country unless Pakistani officials give bin Laden’s wives to U.S. forces for questioning.
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
Raw Story is a progressive news site that focuses on stories often ignored in the mainstream media. While giving coverage to the big stories of the day, we also bring our readers' attention to policy, politics, legal and human rights stories that get ignored in an infotainment culture driven solely by pageviews.
Founded in 2004, Raw Story reaches 9 million unique readers per month and serves more than 30 million pageviews.