Corrupt Politicians and Tools of the Gulen Movement

Corrupt Politicians and Tools of the Gulen Movement
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Gulen Politicians- Mean Jean or the "Crazy Lady of Capitol Hill"

Evidently "Mean Jean" is under investigation by the House Ethics committee for accepting free legal services from the Turkish Coalition of America. Jean has also accepted over $30,000 in campaign contributions from out of state (OH) Turkish people. Not a surprise that Ohio is home to the second largest amount of Gulen Charter Schools - Horizon Science Academys which ironically are also under investigation.

Rep. Jean Schmidt is being investigated by the Office of Congressional Ethics for her receipt of legal assistance from a Turkish-American group, according to a story in today’s Roll Call.
UPDATED: Read Malia Rulon’s front page story here
Bill Cable, spokesman for the Office of Congressional Ethics, told the Enquirer’s Malia Rulon: ”Under the rules, we are not allowed to comment about whether an investigation is going on or what stage we are in.”
The office recommends to the House Ethics committee whether to investigate violations.
Democrat David Krikorian, who has run against Schmidt twice in Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District, has filed a number of complaints against Schmidt with the Office of Congressional Ethics, saying Schmidt has improperly received free legal services from the Turkish Coalition of America and its defense fund.
Schmidt has a pending defamation suit against Krikorian in Clermont County Common Pleas Court, filed after the Ohio Elections Commission ruled that Krikorian had made false statements when he accused Schmidt of taking money from Turkish interests.
Clermont County Democratic Party chairman Dave Lane - who is no fan of Krikorian – said he will wait until the Office of Congressional Ethics makes a determination before passing judgment.
“This thing between Schmidt and Krikorian is a mess; and it’s been a mess since the beginning,” said Lane, who backed Surya Yalamanchili over Krikorian in last year’s 2nd District primary. “It’s become a soap opera. And I guess, with a soap opera, you just have to stay tuned.”
The Enquirer will update this story. If you’re wondering if Rep. Schmidt is your congresswoman, here’s a map of the district. You can also type in your Zip Code here.
Meanwhile, here is Malia Rulon’s story from Aug. 1, 2010 about Schmidt’s eyebrow-raising ties to the Turkish-American groups:
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Complaint claims illegal free help
By Malia Rulon
WASHINGTON – Rep. Jean Schmidt isn’t Turkish, and there aren’t many Turks in her southern Ohio district, but the Miami Township Republican is deeply invested in a legal battle stemming from the Turkish denial of the Armenian genocide.
And that battle could land her in a heap of trouble.
At issue is whether Schmidt accepted what foes estimate to be at least $200,000 worth of free representation from a Turkish legal group so she could file two cases against former opponent David Krikorian, who is of Armenian descent.
Schmidt spokesman Bruce Pfaff told The Enquirer that the Schmidt campaign hired the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund to represent her in both cases against Krikorian. Pfaff said she is in the process of setting up a legal expense fund to pay the organization’s fees.
Krikorian, who ran unsuccessfully as an independent in 2008 and as a Democrat in this year’s primary, has filed a complaint over this issue with the Office of Congressional Ethics, which forwards complaints of merit to the official House ethics committee for further action. Investigations aren’t typically made public unless a sanction is made. Krikorian’s complaint is dated July 13.
He alleges that Schmidt, or her campaign, accepted free legal services from TALDF, which would be a violation of campaign finance laws or House gift rules, or both.
If it turns out she violated campaign finance laws or House rules, she could face a fine, a reprimand, or much more – such as an ethics investigation.
Haven’t gotten the bill yet
Since her first case filed with the Ohio Elections Commission in May 2009, Schmidt’s campaign finance reports have not indicated any payment or debt for legal services, or any in-kind gifts from TALDF for the work. A separate lawsuit was filed against Krikorian this past June. Again, no payments were listed in her latest campaign finance report, which covers activity until June 30.
Schmidt spokesman Pfaff said that’s because the cases are still going on. He turned down a request to speak to the congresswoman directly.
“I don’t believe that there has been a bill for their services to this point,” he said, adding that the lawyers are waiting for the legal expense fund to be set up before submitting a bill.
But statements made under oath in August 2009 by Bruce Fein, who handles cases for TALDF and is representing Schmidt, and former Schmidt chief of staff Barry Bennett seem to contradict this. They suggest the TALDF would pay the legal bills for Schmidt’s case.
When asked whether TALDF had charged the Schmidt campaign any money for representation, Fein said: “The answer is no. We stated that we would do this and we would not charge them legal fees.”
Krikorian’s lawyer asked Bennett, “And there’s no ethics issue associated with Turkish American Legal Defense Funds paying for Ms. Schmidt’s legal fees?”
Bennett replied: “No, not that I’m aware of.”
These statements were made in depositions taken for the Ohio Elections Commission case. They were submitted to the Office of Congressional Ethics as part of Krikorian’s request for a formal investigation.
‘We have not paid them’
So the question becomes: Were Schmidt’s lawyers paid, and if so, by whom?
Pfaff said he didn’t know the answer. “We have not paid them,” he said.
Schmidt has been represented by three lawyers: Fein and David Salzman, both of Fein & Salzman in Washington, who are also listed as contacts on the TALDF Web site; and Donald C. Brey of Chester, Willcox & Saxbe in Columbus.
The Enquirer reached Fein by phone to ask whether Schmidt had paid Fein & Salzman. He said, “I’ve stated all that I’m going to say on the record,” before hanging up.
Brey did not return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment.
According to the Federal Election Commission, as long as no bills have been submitted or paid, then no laws have been violated. Schmidt would be required to report the cost of the legal services when the bill is received, listed either as a debt or paid for by campaign funds or a legal expense fund.
Pfaff has said in previous news reports that the lawyers spent more than 200 hours on the case. There were travel fees involved for them as well as a witness, court reporting fees and other costs. He declined to estimate the total cost.
In his complaint, Krikorian guessed that the total cost could range from $200,000 to $500,000, which would exceed what Schmidt’s congressional office or campaign is legally allowed to accept.
Christopher P. Finney, a Cincinnati lawyer who is representing Krikorian, said he finds it highly unlikely, not to mention extremely unusual, that any law firm would go 15 months without submitting a bill, especially when the costs are that high.
Pfaff said Schmidt’s office has been in touch with the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, commonly referred to as the House ethics committee, since the “very beginning.” When asked for a specific date, he said, “conversations,” and a request for an advisory opinion from the committee, occurred in September 2009.
A long feud
Schmidt’s first case was filed in May 2009, and Pfaff said there was a delay in formally communicating with the committee because it took several months to figure out how to proceed.
He said the committee responded in writing in February. He declined to release the committee’s letter because it’s protected by “congressional privilege” and could be used in Schmidt’s pending case against Krikorian. The Enquirer turned down an offer to view the document unless it could report on what it said.
“I want people to recognize that David Krikorian is willing to say or do anything to attack the congresswoman with little or no proof. He has no understanding of how long it takes to get things through the House committee here, and he has no understanding of what discussions we’ve had with the House committee on this matter,” he added.
Schmidt’s legal battles with Krikorian go back to the 2008 election. In a complaint filed with the Ohio Elections Commission in May 2009, she alleged that Krikorian had made false and damaging statements on his campaign website when he said she took “blood money” to deny the Armenian genocide, in which more than a million Armenians were killed by Turks at the end of World War I. The Turkish government says there were massacres on both sides in the conflict as the Ottoman Empire collapsed.
For the record, Schmidt said she does not believe that the events of 1915 constitute a genocide. Regardless, she argued before the OEC that the campaign donations she received from Turkish sources came from American donors and not the Turkish government, which would be illegal.
The OEC ruled in her favor in October, issuing a written reprimand to Krikorian for making false statements.
Then this June, Schmidt filed a lawsuit against Krikorian in Clermont County Common Pleas Court seeking $6.8 million in compensatory and punitive damages, alleging that Krikorian had again accused her of taking “blood money” from the Turks.
Schmidt has long been a darling of the Turkish community.
In May 2009, right after filing the Ohio Elections Commission complaint against Krikorian, she traveled to Turkey, courtesy of the Turkish Coalition of America. The following month, an editorial she wrote was published in Today’s Zaman, a Turkish newspaper.
In Congress, she has praised the founding of Turkey on the House floor, opposed legislation recognizing the Armenian genocide, and joined the Caucus on U.S.-Turkish Relations. She has also marched as grand marshal in a Turkish Day Parade, lunched with a group of Turks at Cafe Istanbul in Newport, and raised thousands in campaign contributions from Turkish Americans.
According to the last census, there are just 3,159 Turks in Ohio, including 297 in the 2nd Congressional District.
Schmidt’s response
Rep. Jean Schmidt’s office declined to give The Enquirer a copy of the letter from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct.
They sent the following e-mail summarizing it:
The letter from the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct shows:
1. The Committee on Standards is well aware of all the facts surrounding our case.
2. These facts include the fact that Congresswoman Schmidt is represented by TALDF and it is aware of the relationship between TALDF and TCA.
3. The Committee has seen a copy of the action filed at the Ohio Elections Commission (OEC).
4. The Committee is aware that we have not received a bill and why.
5. The legal expenses incurred in connection with the Elections Commission action were directly related to her candidacy for federal office – one of the specific permissible types of actions under the Committee’s Legal Expense Fund regulations.
6. There is no restriction under the Committee’s Legal Expense Fund Regulations that would bar the establishment of such a trust fund to pay past legal expenses, so long as no solicitation or receipt of donations occurred before the Committee’s written approval of the trust agreement.
7. Jean has complied with all House rules and regulations. The information sent by Mr. Krikorian to the Office of Congressional Ethics is without merit.

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