Former Congressman Mark Siljander plead guilty to obstructing justice after taking $75,000 in hidden payoffs from an Islamic front organization. Yesterday, he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison. Fours others received sentences as well.
One of those involved, Abdel Azim Elsiddig, a part-time fundraiser for the organization, “admitted that he hired and paid Siljander to persuade government officials to remove the charity from a Senate Finance Committee list of Islamic organizations suspected of supporting terrorism and to restore the charity’s ability to receive U.S. government contracts.”
In 1999, the Agency for International Development barred the charity from receiving federal foreign aid contracts, reckoning that such agreements would “not be in the national security interest” of the United States.
In his plea agreement, Siljander, a Republican who represented Michigan in Congress from 1981 to 1987, admitted that he lied to federal authorities about the charity’s payments to him. . . .
The money, he also revealed, would have funded propaganda: “it was to have assisted him in writing a book about reconciling differences between Muslims and Christians.”
Despite letters from former Reagan attorney general Edwin Meese and former Clinton official Bill Richardson praising Siljander’s character and service, U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey was unswayed. She determined “he needed prison time primarily to serve as a deterrent to others,” according to the report.