Stranded Wind had a diary yesterday mentioning this, but more info is coming to light. Apparently, the Pakistani ISI--that fine organization which has been supporting the Taliban and is linked to the terrorist acts in India--is supporting Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) for reelection.
I first saw this in today's Philly Inquirer as an AP article, but the The Hindu News has the most info with implications for the US political scene. HN is reporting that the Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI, has been funneling money to the Kashmiri American Council. The KAC tries to couch its language in terms of pushing for a peaceful settlement, but, looking over its stated goals, it is pretty obvious that this is a pro-Pakistani organization.
The KAC has been giving campaign contributions to politicians who support Pakistan. According to The Hindu News:
Part of the funds routed to the KAC, Congressional records show, were used to directly influence key politicians. Both major parties in the U.S. received donations from Dr. Fai, as did President Barack Obama's campaign.
The biggest single beneficiary, though, was Dan Burton — a Republican Senator with a long history of hostility to India, who received at least $12,000.
The two American citizens, Syed Fai and Zaheer Ahmad, have been charged. According to the HN:
Ghulam Nabi Fai, KAC's director and a prominent overseas Kashmiri activist, has been arrested on the charge of having violated laws which prohibit work for foreign governments without authorisation. The Justice Department has also charged a second man, Zaheer Ahmad, with recruiting dummy donors for the KAC, through whom the ISI routed the funds.
Ben Smith at Politico has picked this up:
Burton has received at least $10,000 in contributions from Fai since 1990, while Ahmad has given at least $2,000. Both men may have also bundled contributions for the veteran Indiana lawmaker.
“Mr. Fai is accused of a decades-long scheme with one purpose – to hide Pakistan’s involvement behind his efforts to influence the U.S. government’s position on Kashmir,” said U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride in a statement. “His handlers in Pakistan allegedly funneled millions through the Kashmir Center to contribute to U.S. elected officials, fund high-profile conferences, and pay for other efforts that promoted the Kashmiri cause to decision-makers in Washington.”
Burton has been very active on the Kashmir issue. Shortly before receiving a donation from both Fai and Ahmad, Burton announced the formation of a Kashmir caucus in the U.S. Congress. He has traveled to Kashmir for events sponsored by Fai's Kashmir Center and has spoken in favor of resolve the standoff between Pakistan and India over the territory in Pakistan's favor.
"Since 1948, the people of Kashmir have been offered and promised a plebiscite and that's something that has not happened.... Here we are 61 years later, and we are still hoping that one day there will be peace and tranquillity in that beautiful part of the world that I want to visit," Burton said at an event in Islamabad in 2009, reported on by a Pakistani newspaper.
"The number of Indian troops that are still up there and keeping everything under wraps. They are patrolling the streets and there are still some horrible tragedies that are taking place. I heard of gang-raping of young women, I've heard of murders and tortures," he said.
The full indictment against Fai and Ahmad can be found here.
Smith notes that Burton was involved in a 1997 effortto "shake down" a Pakistani lobbyist for campaign funds. According to Mark Siegel, lobbyist for the Bhutto government (as reported by the WaPo at the time):
"I should tell you," Siegel wrote on July 25, in a two-page memo to a Bhutto aide in Islamabad, "that I worked in Washington for over 25 years and have never been shaken down by anyone before like Dan Burton's threats. No one has ever dared to threaten me into contributing money, and no one has ever followed through on such threats by contacting one of my clients.
"Despite what you may see in the movies," Siegel wrote, "this isn't the way most U.S. politicians conduct themselves."
In the same article, Burton was found to have been receiving funds from Sikh separatist groups for years:
Burton is a longtime member of the House International Relations Committee who co-chairs an informal caucus on U.S.-Pakistani relations. The congressman has regularly backed causes of importance to Pakistan and is a longtime recipient of campaign donations from the Sikh community. He was a key supporter of a bill that would have blocked $25 million in U.S. aid to India because of its refusal to allow human rights investigations of alleged atrocities in Punjab state, where Sikh separatists seeking a homeland they call Khalistan have battled New Delhi's security forces. Two years ago, Burton also backed an effort to lift a long-standing ban on aid to Pakistan that cleared the way for delivery of $368 million worth of U.S. missiles and other military equipment for which it already had paid.
Burton contends that contribution he received was legal but, if there is any doubt he says, he will give the money ($10,000) to the Boy Scouts. Meanwhile, opponents from his own party continue to line up in the 5th Congressional District.
Burton is being challenged by Susan Brooks and John McGoff in the GOP primary. McGoff outraised Burton in the 2nd quarter of this year.
Burton is no stranger to controversy. In 1998, after criticizing Bill Clinton and calling him a "scumbag" he had to admit to fathering a child out of wedlock.
In 1998, Salon reported that Burton was busy complaining about campaign irregularities of Democrats:
This past fall, in his role as chairman of the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, Burton cast himself as a moral watchdog for political fund-raising, threatening to cite Attorney General Janet Reno for contempt of Congress over the issue of appointing an independent counsel to look into alleged Democratic fund-raising abuses. "Is it any surprise to find Chinese arms dealers, drug dealers and fugitives from justice attending Democratic National Committee events at the White House with the president?" he asked at the start of the House campaign finance hearings.
They also report sexual harassment claims and other malfeasance. The Salon piece is worth going over and asking why we can't get rid of this asshole...what the fuck are people in Indiana thinking?
Sadly, it's one of THOSE districts, where, as long as you have R behind your name and are breathing, you will win. It's situated in the burbs and rural areas north of Indianapolis. McCain won it 59-40. Burton won in 2008 by 65-35 over his Dem challenger. In 2010, he had a serious challenge in the primary, but trounced his Dem opponent.
So, to recap, dude has a long history of being hypocritical, and may have even taking money from a FUCKING SPY whose organization supports not only terrorists by the FUCKING TALIBAN, but the people of Indiana just can't keep from voting for him.
What a disgrace.