The ‘Family’ Took Terrorist Money, Paid it to Corrupt Congressman
October 14, 2010
(ChattahBox Political News)—The secret evangelical Christian organization known as The Family or The Fellowship is under fire today for accepting money from a shady Islamic charity that was raided by the FBI, and placed on a suspected terrorism financing list. The Family, operates a controversial residence for mostly Republican members of Congress and holds the annual National Prayer Breakfast, long attended by presidents and prominent lawmakers in Washington. An Ohio-based group of Christian ministers, called Clergy VOICE filed a complaint with the IRS, demanding that the agency yank The Family’s tax-free status for its accepting of terrorist funds. The funds were accepted six-years ago, processed through its foundation and then paid to former Rep. Mark Siljander (R-MI), a corrupt lawmaker and Family associate, who was lobbying congress illegally on behalf of the Islamic charity. The payments were revealed in the course of Siljander’s indictment and guilty plea. The Family’s foundation denies that it had knowledge of the Islamic charity’s terrorist ties.
The shadowy Family organization has had a corrosive influence in Washington and around the world, as it carries out its mission to place members in powerful positions in government and commerce who believe in the group’s strict fundamentalism. The Family, run by Doug Coe, also operates a secret residence for prominent, mostly Republican members of Congress, known as C-Street that offers below-market rent and subsidizes about $100,000 worth of International travel for C-Street lawmakers. Doe, obsessive over secrecy, once said “the more invisible you can make your organization, the more influence it will have.”
The Family is secret no more thanks to the sexual shenanigans of married C-Street members, such as Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) and former members South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and disgraced ex-Congressman Chip Pickering.
Now, there are serious questions about the organization’s function as a conduit for suspected funds that are processed and then paid to Family associates.
The Washington Post reports:
“The foundation, an Arlington-based religious enterprise associated with a house at 133 C St. SE where several members of the House and Senate have rented rooms, acknowledged Wednesday that it had received two $25,000 checks, in May and June 2004, from the Missouri-based Islamic American Relief Agency.”
After the FBI raided the offices of the Islamic American Relief Agency, the chief executive Mubarak Hamed, admitted to sending the two $25,000 checks to an entity named International Foundation, which is another name for the Family’s foundation.
“Hamed, in his plea, said the purpose was to pay for lobbying by former congressman Mark D. Siljander (R-Mich.), a prominent social conservative who promised to help the agency get off the Senate terrorist financing list. Siljander, in a July courtroom appearance, pleaded guilty to serving as the charity’s unregistered agent in meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and admitted lying to federal officers about his role.”
In the wake of The Family’s role in paying a corrupt lawmaker for his illegal lobbying activities, Clergy VOICE is questioning the monies used by the group to support several lawmakers.
“The Foundation continues to provide these travel funds and residential facilities to Members of Congress, and we are concerned that money arising from a terrorist organization has been used in conjunction with these expenses,” Clergy Voice wrote in its letter to the IRS.
The Family’s foundation president Richard Carver denies any wrongdoing.
The money “probably came in at a time when nobody thought there was a reason for Mark to do something” wrong, Carver said. “We never had any reason to expect we would get anything like that.”
Jeff Sharlet wrote an expose of The Family in 2008, entitled “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power,” that’s definitely worth a read.
The book examines how the group’s strict fundamentalism and promotion of laissez-faire capitalism influences the votes of its lawmaker-members. And the group readily offers God’s forgiveness for the many transgressions of its powerful associates, making them feel emboldened and untouchable.
The members of The Family and the C-Street evangelical frat house house must have to do quite a lot of repenting these days.