NEWS

Former Lawmaker Charged in Terrorism Case

By Laura Spadanuta, Assistant Editor

Former United States Congressman Mark Deli Siljander was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorism fundraising ring, according to an Associated Press report. The ring allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al Qaeda and Taliban supporter whom has threatened troops in Afghanistan.

Siljander, who served two terms as a Republican congressman from Michigan between 1981-87, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy, and obstructing justice. He allegedly lied about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that is accused of sending money to terrorists:

A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Missouri, accuses the Islamic American Relief Agency of paying Siljander $50,000 for the lobbying -- money that turned out to be stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.

IARA is accused of sending the $130,00 to help Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is designated by the U.S. as a global terrorist.

Siljander also served as U.S. delegate to the United Nations for one year after being appointed by President Reagan in 1987. Siljander's entry in the biographical directory of the U.S. Congress states that he operates an import-export firm and is president of a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., while residing in Reston, Va.

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