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Ex-Congressman Indicted In Terrorism-Funding Case
The group and five of its officers have been charged with an array of terrorist-financing crimes, including allegations that the group sent $130,000 to Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan warlord with ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Hekmatyar, who was loosely allied with the United States in the 1980s during efforts to expel Soviet forces from Afghanistan, is accused by the Justice Department of vowing "to engage in a holy war" against U.S. and international troops there.
Siljander's role in the case is more limited. He is not charged with a terrorism crime. Instead, the indictment alleges, Siljander worked with the group's leaders to conceal the source of stolen international aid money, which was transferred to accounts he controlled.
He initially denied doing any advocacy work for the charity, telling the FBI that the funds he received from the group were "donations" to help him write a book, according to the indictment. The book, "A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman's Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide," is scheduled for publication by HarperOne.
The six counts against Siljander each carry potential sentences of as much as 20 years in prison, officials said.
Siljander left the House after losing to a fellow Republican in 1986. He attempted to return as a candidate for Virginia's 11th District in 1992, telling supporters in the Reston area that "the image of Congress is lower than street prostitutes and street peddlers" and that "we are slowly losing morality" in Congress. He was soundly defeated in the GOP primary.
President Ronald Reagan appointed Siljander as a United Nations delegate for one year after his departure from Congress. Siljander also notes on his company's Web site that his immigrant grandfather "invented the mechanical pencil," although many experts credit others with that achievement.
Staff writer Jeffrey H. Birnbaum contributed to this report.