Friday, January 21, 2005

I see at Instapundit that some of the lobbying efforts made for the benefit of keeping Saddam's skin tightly adhered to the outside of his body, and funded by, duh, Saddam, are starting to come to light. From the NY Post article:
"WASHINGTON — Former President Jimmy Carter was a target of the clandestine lobby campaign launched by an Iraqi-American businessman who admitted he was paid millions of dollars to undermine U.S. policy toward Iraq, it was revealed yesterday.

Virginia-based oilman Samir Vincent earlier this week became the first person to plead guilty in the U.N. oil-for-food scandal. He had several contacts with the former Democratic president in a bid to weaken and eventually repeal sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime, investigators said.

Contacts with Vincent dated back to 1999, when Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, hosted a delegation of Iraqi religious leaders at their home in Plains, Ga.

The Iraqis were in the country to lobby American religious leaders — including the Rev. Billy Graham — against U.N. sanctions on Iraq, imposed after Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Vincent organized the trip.

Later that year, Carter disclosed that he was trying to send his son, Chip, as well as Billy Graham's son, Franklin, to Iraq to "give publicity to the plight of the people in Iraq who are suffering."
"Vincent testified in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday that he was paid millions of dollars by Saddam's regime for lobbying.

Among Vincent's American contacts was former GOP vice-presidential nominee and ex-New York Rep. Jack Kemp, who acknowledged working with him on a proposal to ease the economic sanctions if Iraq would readmit U.N. weapons inspectors.

In 1999, Kemp took those proposals to then-Defense Secretary William Cohen — and again in 2001, to Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of State Colin Powell, said Washington lawyer Lanny Davis, who was speaking for Kemp.

In his discussions with Powell and Cheney, Kemp said he wanted to go to Baghdad to pitch his plan with the younger Graham, who is an associate of Carter, Davis said.

Kemp was rebuffed.
What does hosting delegations mean - luncheons and dinner parties, or cheese, apples and mint tea at the kitchen table. Host is a nice word, it shows generosity and graciousness. Who paid for the "hosting"? And Jack Kemp's work. Was it 'pro bono' work like you do for a friend when he's putting an addition on the house? Or did this time get charged to some account with some foundation? All these trips planned - Jack's, Chip's, Franklin's - were these going to be paid by Vincent or would these working vacations come from somewhere else.

I remember Jesse Jackson practically begging for the opportunity to jet off to Afghanistan when we were on the brink of war with the Taliban government. That's not cheap stuff and I always wondered who would have paid for all that would require. But that one, I think, was all speaking before the camera puffery and not much time/money investment plus it had entertainment value with "I was invited.", No you weren't." mudwrestling to watch, so I don't consider that particular JJ episode that bad.

On the other hand, while it's possible most of this Iraqi related hosting, helping, working, jetting, pitching and publicity chasing is all on the up and up, is charitable in nature and done out of personal conviction to do good and not to make money, I have my doubts. 'Dopes' like Alexander Hamilton are pretty much extinct.

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