CORPORATE CRIME REPORTER
Fair: Turks Boasted of Payments to Hastert
19 Corporate Crime Reporter 32(1), August 3, 2005
Turkish officials boasted of giving “tens of thousands of dollars in surreptious payments” to House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Illinois) in exchange for political favors.
That allegation is contained a profile of Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) whistleblower Sibel Edmonds in the current issue of Vanity Fair magazine.
The article, “An Inconvenient Patriot,” by British writer David Rose, reports that Edmonds was asked to listen to wiretaps as part of what appeared to be an FBI public corruption probe into bribes paid to members of Congress – both Democrat and Republican.
Rose, citing “some of the wiretaps,” reports that “the FBI’s targets had arranged for tens of thousands of dollars to be paid to Hastert’s campaign funds in small checks.”
The article notes that under Federal Election Commission rules, “donations of less than $200 are not required to be itemized in public filings.”
The article reports that Edmonds has given confidential testimony on several occasions – to congressional staffers, to the Inspector General, and to staff from the 9/11 commission.
“Edmonds reportedly added that the recordings also contained repeated references to Hastert’s flip-flop, in the fall of 2000" to “the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 as genocide.”
According to the Vanity Fair article, the resolution never went anywhere until August 2000 when Hastert announced he was supporting it – in an effort to win over his district’s large Armenian community.
According to the article, the resolution passed the House International Relations Committee by a large majority “thanks to Hastert.”
“Then, on October 19, minutes before the full House vote, Hastert withdrew it,” the article reports.
Hastert said at the time that he withdrew it because of a letter he received from President Bill Clinton that the bill would harm U.S. interests.
And while the Vanity Fair article reports that “there is no evidence that any payment was ever made to Hastert or to his campaigns,” it also reports that “a senior official at the Turkish Consulate is said to have claimed in one recording that the price for Hastert to withdraw the resolution would have been at least $500,000.”
The article reports that Edmonds testified that she heard about the payments when listening to “Turkish wiretap targets.”
In one wiretapped conversation, a Turkish official spoke to a State Department staffer.
“They agreed that the State Department staffer would send a representative at an appointed time to the American-Turkish Council office, at 1111 14th Street, N.W. where he would be given $7,000 in cash,” the article reports.
Another call Edmonds heard allegedly discussed a payment to a Pentagon official “who seemed to be involved in weapons-procurement negotiations,” according to the article.
Hastert’s spokesman could not be reached for comment.
But he told Vanity Fair that Hastert is “unaware of Turkish interests making donations” and his staff has “not seen any pattern of donors with foreign names.”
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