EX-CONGRESSMAN TURNED LOBBYIST TO SERVE TURKEY

“Get yourself a few ‘Dime a Dozen Generals,’ bid high in the ‘former statesmen lobby auction’, and put in your pocket one or two ‘ex-congressmen turned lobbyists’ who know the ropes when it comes to pocketing a few dozen who still serve.”
~ Sibel Edmonds.

As an update to yesterday’s post, let me point out an item that was left in yesterday’s comments:

The Turkish government has signed another prominent former congressional leader to join its K Street team.

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and others at his firm, Dickstein Shapiro, are working on a $35,000-per-month contract for Turkey, according to records on file with the Justice Department.

Hastert was the longest-serving Republican House Speaker until he retired from his seat after the 2006 midterm elections. He joined Dickstein in June 2008.

The agreement is a subcontract between Hastert’s firm and the Gephardt Group, founded by Richard Gephardt, the ex-Missouri congressman who was the Democratic House leader for several years. Gephardt and others at DLA Piper replaced the Livingston Group, longtime lobbyists for Turkey, as its Washington representatives last year.

Source.

Let me also point out that DLA Piper has a “strategic alliance” with The Cohen Group. Joseph Ralston, Lockheed Martin lobbyist and former “special envoy” to counter the PKK for Turkey is a vice-chairman at The Cohen Group. The other vice chairman is Marc Grossman, the man who gave Pakistan The Bomb, among other things. Ralston also served as Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, which is the senior officer in charge of NATO.

DLA Piper and The Cohen Group were implicated in the Australian Wheat Board’s oil-for-food scandal, in which AWB Limited accepted kickbacks from Saddam Hussein back in the day.

What the article about Dennis Hastert’s new job fails to mention, however, is that Hastert was taking some kickbacks of his own–from the Ankara regime. At least, that’s what FBI wiretaps say, according to David Rose at Vanity Fair:

Edmonds has given confidential testimony inside a secure Sensitive Compartmented Information facility on several occasions: to congressional staffers, to investigators from the O.I.G., and to the staff from the 9/11 commission. Sources familiar with this testimony say that, in addition to her allegations about the Dickersons, she reported hearing Turkish wiretap targets boast that they had a covert relationship with a very senior politician indeed—Dennis Hastert, Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House since 1999. The targets reportedly discussed giving Hastert tens of thousands of dollars in surreptitious payments in exchange for political favors and information. “The Dickersons,” says one official familiar with the case, “are only the tip of the iceberg.”

[ . . . ]

In her secure testimony, Edmonds disclosed some of what she recalled hearing. In all, says a source who was present, she managed to listen to more than 40 of the Chicago recordings supplied by Robertz. Many involved an F.B.I. target at the city’s large Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Consulate, as well as members of the American-Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associates.

Some of the calls reportedly contained what sounded like references to large scale drug shipments and other crimes. To a person who knew nothing about their context, the details were confusing and it wasn’t always clear what might be significant. One name, however, apparently stood out – a man the Turkish callers often referred to by the nickname “Denny boy.” It was the Republican congressman from Illinois and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert. According to some of the wiretaps, the F.B.I.’s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks. Under Federal Election Commission rules, donations of less than $200 are not required to be itemized in public filings.

Hastert himself was never heard in the recordings, Edmonds told investigators, and it is possible that the claims of covert payments were hollow boasts. Nevertheless, an examination of Hastert’s federal filings shows that the level of un-itemized payments his campaigns received over many years was relatively high. Between April 1996 and December 2002, un-itemized personal donations to the Hastert for Congress Committee amounted to $483,000. In contrast, un-itemized contributions in the same period to the committee run on behalf of the House majority leader, Tom Delay, Republican of Texas, were only $99,000. An analysis of the filings of four other senior Republicans shows that only one, Clay Shaw of Florida, declared a higher total in un-itemized donations than Hastert over the same period: $552,000. The other three declared far less. Energy and Commerce Committee chairman Joe Barton, of Texas, claimed $265,000; Armed Services Committee chairman Duncan Hunter, of California, got $212,000; and Ways and Means Committee chairman Bill Thomas, of California, recorded $110,000.

Edmonds reportedly added that the recordings also contained repeated references to Hastert’s flip-flop, in the fall of 2000, over an issue which remains of intense concern to the Turkish government – the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide. For many years, attempts had been made to get the house to pass a genocide resolution, but they never got anywhere until August 2000, when Hastert, as Speaker, announced that he would give it his backing and see that it received a full house vote. He had a clear political reason, as analysts noted at the time: a California Republican incumbent, locked in a tight congressional race, was looking to win over his district’s large Armenian community. Thanks to Hastert, the resolution, vehemently opposed by the Turks, passed the International Relations Committee by a large majority. Then, on October 19, minutes before the full House vote, Hastert withdrew it.

From Kill The Messenger:

I wonder what Hastert’s spokesman would say now that he’s a lobbyist for the Turkish Republic? Coincidence? Right. Coincidences exist just like the tooth fairy, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny.

Sibel’s rebuttal to Hastert’s claims of innocence can be found at The Brad Blog.

Maybe it’s also just a coincidence that Sibel predicted almost two years ago that Hastert would land a juicy lobbying job “for services rendered”.

Zafere!

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