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Fugitive Iraqi minister was a Bush campaign donor

Published: Thursday December 21, 2006
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An Iraqi minister who is on the run after breaking out of corruption-linked detention in Baghdad donated money to the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, according to an item at the website Iraqslogger.

Aiham Alsammarae is an engineer with dual Iraqi-US citizenship who lived for decades in the Chicago area. He was appointed Iraq's Electricity Minister in 2003 by the Coalition Provisional Authority under Paul Bremer. He was convicted on corruption charges this year and sentenced to jail.

Alsammarae reportedly broke out of jail on Sunday, and began calling American journalists to say that he had escaped from Iraq. When the New York Times' James Glanz asked how he had escaped the prison, he laughed and told him "The Chicago Way." He also told the Chicago Tribune that he was in a safe place, and that "The first thing I ate was a pizza with ground beef, onions, double cheese and a cold beer...It is good to be free."

According to Iraqslogger's Robert Y. Pelton, the former Iraqi minister was a booster of the Bush administration and the Republican Party. In 1999, he donated $2000 to the Bush campaign, and he followed it up with $250 more in 2004 after joining the provisional Iraqi government. He has also donated more than $6,000 to various Republican Party organizations in the US over the years.

The full article can be accessed at the Iraqslogger website.