Accused Terrorist Is Big GOP Donor

By Justin Rood

Feb 19, 2007 1:51pm

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) won’t say what it plans to do with thousands of dollars in campaign donations it received from an accused terror financier. Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari gave $15,250 to the NRCC since 2002, according to FEC records published on the Web site opensecrets.org. On Friday, Alishtari pled not guilty to funding terrorism and other crimes, including financial fraud. The NRCC is the main political group dedicated to helping the Republican party win seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. Reached Monday morning for comment, an NRCC spokeswoman declined to discuss the matter on the record. The indictment against Alishtari unsealed in Manhattan federal court Friday charges him with providing material support to terrorists by transferring $152,000 between banks to allegedly be used to purchase night-vision goggles and other equipment needed for a terrorist training camp. Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. Alishtari, aka Michael Mixon, was paid for his efforts to collect and transfer the funds, which included $25,000 sent from a bank in New York to a bank in Montreal, Canada, the indictment alleges. Police and FBI agents arrested Alishtari in New York City on Friday. A day earlier, agents raided his Ardsley, N.Y. home, according to the "Lower Hudson Journal News." When a reporter for the paper reached a woman claiming to be Alishtari’s wife on Friday and informed her of the charges, she cried and said he was innocent, the paper reported. The NRCC would not confirm it had received donations from Mr. Alishtari, or that he had received numerous awards from the organization, as is claimed by an online list of personal accomplishments that appears to have been posted by Mr. Alishtari. The list says he was made a life member of the NRCC’s "Inner Circle" and was named New York State Businessman of the Year by the group in 2003 and 2004.  The NRCC "Businessperson of the Year" fundraising campaign, which gave such "awards" to at least 1,900 GOP donors, has been derided as a telemarketing scam by political watchdogs. Read Brian Ross’ previous investigation on the NRCC’s "Person of the Year" fundraising campaign. The online list also claims Alishtari was appointed to the president’s "USNRCC White House Business Advisory Group." An archived Web site for one of Alishtari’s companies, GlobalProtector.net, claims it had demonstrated a "Web filter" technology for officials at the Department of Defense’s Miami, Fla.-based Southern Command (SouthCom), which coordinates U.S. military operations in Central and South America and the Caribbean and oversees the controversial Guantanamo Bay detention facility. SouthCom spokesman Steve Lucas would not confirm or deny any contacts between Alishtari and officials there. SouthCom personnel he spoke with said SouthCom does not use the company’s software, and could not rule out the possibility they had received a sales pitch from him or another company representative. A database of unclassified federal contracts at FedSpending.org does not show SouthCom or any other government branch awarded business to Alishtari’s company. A call to the telephone number which had been listed on GlobalProtector’s site connects to a recorded message offering the caller to "spark up your days and nights" by calling a 1-800 phone chat line.

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