Former Congressman Mistakes Americans for Soviets


According to this wire story, former Republican congressman Mark Deli Siljander, a conservative Christian who served Michigan's 4th congressional district from 1981-87, has been charged with conspiracy in an investigation of the Islamic American Relief Agency, a Missouri-based charity accused of laundering money to the Taliban and its allies. During his stint in the House, Siljander was a staunch cold warrior, offering support to the Contras, UNITA, and any group opposed to the ANC (i.e., the apartheid regime). Now, perhaps in an attempt to gin up Hollywood interest, he's trying out his Charlie Wilson routine. From the AP:

A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al-Qaida and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan.

The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists.

A 42-count indictment, unsealed in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., 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.

The congressman has a rather colorful history. In 1986, Siljander lost his bid for reelection, he speculated, after asking voters to "break the back of satan" by granting him another term in the House. He acknowledged contemporaneously that his apocalyptic outburst perhaps "should have been re-worded." During his time on the Hill, Siljander campaigned to have gay-themed books removed from public libraries (targeting books like The Lord is My Shepherd and He Knows I'm Gay), introduced a bill to condemn Louis Farrakhan's "racism and anti-Semitism," and campaigned for the sale of F-16s to Israel. In 1985, the Washington Post reported on Siljander's visit to a Jewish Coalition fundraiser, during which he determined that Jews are capitalists just like regular old Christians:

Michigan conservative Rep. Mark Deli Siljander is not Jewish but he was at one Jewish Coalition reception—and not by accident. He is a member of the Conservative Opportunity Society, pushing a modified 10 percent flat tax. "Some in the Jewish community are starting to see us Republicans as younger, less isolated, interested in global perspectives. Jews are professionals—they feel they are paying too many taxes. They believe in the free enterprise system. "Just," said the Republican congressman, "like us."