Thursday, January 12, 2012

Former Michigan Congressman sentenced for funneling money to jihadists

Mark Deli Siljander will serve but one year and a day for his help at the Islamic American Relief Agency, a identified global terrorist organization.  

And they say Congressional ratings can't get any lower.

From AP/Google January 11 by Bill Draper

Ex-congressman sentenced in terror funding case

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A former Michigan congressman and U.S. delegate to the United Nations has been sentenced to a year and one day in prison for lobbying for a Missouri-based Islamic charity that had been identified as a global terrorist organization.
Mark Deli Siljander, 60, a Republican who served in Congress from 1981-1987, pleaded guilty in July 2010 to obstructing justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent in connection with his work for the Islamic American Relief Agency, based in Columbia, Mo.
In his plea agreement, Siljander acknowledged that he lobbied between March and May 2004 on behalf of the IARA for the organization to be removed from a U.S. Senate Finance Committee list of charities suspected of funding international terrorism. The charity closed in October 2004 after being designated a global terrorist organization by the U.S. government.
IARA had lost its status as an approved government contractor in 1999, when the U.S. Agency for International Development terminated grants for two relief efforts in Mali, Africa. Prosecutors said $50,000 of the $75,000 Siljander received from the charity came from unused grant money that was supposed to have been returned to USAID after it terminated the Mali grants.
Siljander also acknowledged that he failed to register as an agent of a foreign entity and had lied to FBI agents and prosecutors acting on behalf of a federal grand jury.
In court Wednesday, Siljander's 20-year-old son Mark Jr. told U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey that while the charges against his father had been devastating, they also had brought family members closer together.
He told of how his friends had turned against him after his father, a devout Christian, had been connected in the media with terrorist organizations. He asked the judge to help keep the family together.
Siljander's wife, Nancy, also pleaded with Laughrey to give her husband probation and not send him to jail. Siljander, clearly choked up after his wife's statements, apologized for his actions.
"I did something wrong," he said. "I mistreated the system I believe in. I mistreated my family and friends. I should have known better. I failed too many people, including myself and my family. I ask for your mercy."
After a short recess, Laughrey said she had no choice but sentence Siljander to time behind bars.
"I came in this morning with the thought that I would sentence you to a longer time in jail," she said, after announcing the sentence.
Although no real harm had been done by Siljander's actions, she said, there was the potential for harm, and that's why a prison sentence was necessary.
"For me, the real harm is that you kept lying to the government," Laughrey said. However, she added, "This is not a case about somebody aiding a terrorist." 

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