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More Fares Money Thrown at Bush Team

Monday, August 27, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags: ,

Lebanese Deputy Prime Minister Issam Fares' associations with high ranking US Republican officials continue to raise suspicions, especially after a donation of $100,000 was made under his name to the inaugural fund for newly-installed US President George W. Bush.

Fares' political and financial ties to the incoming Bush administration first came under scrutiny last month after THE JERUSALEM POST reported that he had subsidized a lecture by Secretary of State - designate Colin Powell. This only highlighted Fares' long history of cultivating political connections with Republican politicians, and raised serious questions about Fares' private associations with officials he will be in political contact with in his position as deputy prime minister of Lebanon.

The money donated, the maximum accepted by the Bush camp, induced harsh criticism from the US press. In its lead editorial on Friday, THE WASHINGTON POST likened the donation to an attempt to buy influence in American politics and stated that, "A senior official of a foreign government with a major interest in US foreign policy makes or has made in his name a contribution sufficiently large that there is no way it can be forgotten - and indeed, that has to be part of the intent."

Both Fares and his son Nijad, who is a permanent resident of the US with Lebanese citizenship, are listed on official documents as contributing the money. While non-US citizens are allowed to donate to presidential inaugural funds, Fares was the only foreign leader listed as a contributor to the Bush fund.

The inaugural committee later said the donation listed from Fares came from a company headed by Nijad and that the son had attempted to give credit for the donation to his father by giving in his name.

But Nijad is no foreigner to lobbying tactics within the US government, and knows well the power monetary contributions have in influencing US policy. The congressional paper ROLL CALL reported last week that Nijad has ties to incoming Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, who is of Lebanese decent. During the last three election cycles, Najid gave $17,000 to Abraham's campaign and his leadership PAC committee. Last year, Abraham helped secure an additional $3 million for Lebanon and lobbied congressmen and the Clinton administration to raise Lebanon's yearly aid package to $256 million. In 1999, Abraham supported a $4 million earmark for educational institutions in Lebanon, including the International College, which has Nijad as a board member.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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