Corrupt Politicians and Tools of the Gulen Movement

Corrupt Politicians and Tools of the Gulen Movement
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Monday, November 9, 2015

Gulen Politician Bridenstine in ethics probe over free trip to Azerbaijan- blame it on a "friend" Kemal Oksuz

He was invited on all-expenses-paid trip to Azerbaijan by new acquaintance.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Magnolia Science Academy - A Gulen Charter School: Gulen California operation Pacifica Institute the ...

Magnolia Science Academy - A Gulen Charter School: Gulen California operation Pacifica Institute the ...: Congressman Mike Honda is among a group of lawmakers who accepted trips from organizations secretly funded by a Turkish religious movement ...

Gulen"Faith Movement" funds 200 trips for lawmakers to Azerbaijan and Turkey

WASHINGTON — A Turkish religious movement has secretly funded as many as 200 trips to Turkey for members of Congress and staff since 2008, apparently repeatedly violating House rules and possibly federal law, a USA TODAY investigation has found.
The group — a worldwide moderate Islamic movement led by a religious scholar named Fethullah Gülen — has been accused by the Turkish government of attempting a coup in that country. Turkish leaders have asked the United States to extradite Gülen from the remote compound in rural Pennsylvania where he has lived for 20 years.
The movement has founded hundreds of charter schools across the United States and around the world, has its own media organizations, and was deeply entrenched with the Turkish regime until a falling out two years ago. That led President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to declare Gülen was running "a parallel state" inside the country with the intent of undermining the government. In advance of Turkish elections this weekend, police raided the offices of Gülen affiliated-media organizations..
A dozen different Gülen groups have sponsored congressional travel since 2008 and have filed forms with the House certifying that they were paying for the trips. The House Ethics Committee approved all the trips in advance based on the forms the Gülen groups submitted.
But a USA TODAY investigation found many of those disclosures were apparently false. Some of the Gülenist groups claimed to be certified nonprofits, but they do not appear in state or IRS databases of approved charities. Groups that did register with he IRS filed tax forms indicating that they did not pay for congressional travel. And five of the groups admitted to congressional investigators earlier this year that a Gülenist group in Turkey was secretly covering the costs of travel inside Turkey for lawmakers and staff.
Congressional disclosures show the Gülen-backed trips totaled more than $800,000 in free travel for lawmakers and staff. That number likely underestimates the costs since many of the in-country expenses were not reported. And it is not at all clear where the $800,000 came from, since many of the groups involved do not appear to have the resources to pay for large delegation trips.
One Gülen group, the Texas-based Turquoise Council of Americans and Eurasians, sponsored trips for three lawmakers and seven staff members in 2011, filing disclosures claiming it was the sole sponsor of the trips at a total cost of about $54,000. But the same organization filed an IRS tax form that year claiming it spent only $33,000 on travel with no expenditures for the travel of public officials.
The network of Gülen organizations is hard to untangle. The BBC reported in 2013 "the movement's influence extends far beyond Turkey, funding hundreds of Islamic schools, and think tanks and media outlets, from Kenya to Kazakhstan. It has attracted millions of followers and billions of dollars."

Head of US House Ethics Committee received money from group linked to Azerbaijan probe

When and how did Kemal Oksuz turn into such a greedy bastard?
He came to the USA full of bright hopes and dreams as a faithful representative of Hizmet.  Only to be involved with Shady Dealings in the Solidarity Construction firm, getting the Harmony School's million dollar construction contracts without ANY construction experience.
Kemal Oksuz then started Hizment NGOs (Non Governmental Organizations aka Non-Profits)
Turquoise council for Ameriasians
Niagara Foundation
Assembly of Friends of Azerbaijan
What happened to this once honest person, how did he become so corrupt with greed?

The House Ethics Committee has dropped its probe into 10 members of Congress who traveled to Baku, Azerbaijan in May 2013 with oil industry money, according to a Friday afternoon press release. The panel passed a trove of documents it collected to the Justice Department for a possible review of actions by parties outside Ethics’ jurisdiction.
But even as the Ethics Committee investigated the matter, its chairman, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.), received political contributions from local individuals linked to the nonprofit network involved in the trips. The donations amounted to $8,000 and were given on a single day.
Earlier, the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) — an independent, nonpartisan body tasked with investigating matters for referral to the Ethics Committee — found “substantial reason to believe” the 10 members of Congress who traveled to Azerbaijan received illegal gifts. The House Ethics Committee on Friday, however, reported that Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas), Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-N.J.), Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.), Rep. Ruben Hinojosa (D-Texas), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and then-Rep. Steve Stockman, (R-Texas) all acted in “good faith” and didn’t break any rules by attending the lavish Eurasian oil conference.
Instead, the Ethics Committee assigns blame to a “criminal conspiracy” of unnamed third parties in its report.
“Both the Committee and Office of Congressional Ethics found evidence suggesting that a number of parties outside the House may have affirmatively lied to and/or withheld information from both the Committee and the House Members and staff who were invited,” the press release reads. The panel passed nearly 190,000 pages of material related to the probe on to the Justice Department, saying it was “referring the matter of third parties apparently engaging in a criminal conspiracy to lie to Congress” to DOJ “for such further action as it deems appropriate.”
The identity of the third parties remains unclear. But Houston businessman Kemal Oksuz and several others linked to a nationwide Turkic group signed the travel forms for the members of Congress in 2013, affirming that their nonprofit groups were the sole sponsors of the trip. To send a large contingent of House staffers and 10 members cost more than $270,000, according to a Houston Chronicle report on the trip.
But the money actually came from the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan, according to Washington Post account of a leaked OCE report in May.
In the most recent report, released Friday, Oksuz “invoked his Fifth Amendment right to refuse to testify,” the Ethics Committee wrote, calling him “in many respects the central witness to most of the substantive allegations in question.” Other potential witnesses were beyond the committee’s reach, in Azerbaijan and elsewhere. The Committee, which said the Washington Post story “impeded” its probe, concluded it couldn’t determine conclusively who paid the travel bills and resolved to let the 10 lawmakers in question off the hook.
Oksuz serves a constellation of nonprofit organizations that claim to promote Turkic-American civil life in a number of roles and was president of the two groups that organized the 2013 conference, according to the Houston Chronicle report. That year, he was also a board member for the Turkish American Alliance, an umbrella group for six nonprofit federations that promote the philosophy of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish scholar living in self-imposed exile in Pennsylvania. Many in that network are avid political givers — Oksuz and his family alone gave $26,200 to four of the ten lawmakers who traveled to Azerbaijan in 2013. Other lawmakers who went on the junket received similar contributions from employees of nonprofits and charter schools in the network.
During his investigation, the chair of the Ethics Committee did, too. Dent received $8,000 from five individuals linked to the nonprofit network on May 1, 2015, campaign finance records and other documents show.
According to FEC records, one donor who gave $1,000 is an imam at the Cosmos Foundation, an organization that once contracted with Oksuz to build its headquarters. Three donors, who together gave Dent $5,000, list the Lehigh Dialogue Center, or LDC, a nonprofit in Pennsylvania, as their employer. One other donor — who gave Dent $2,000 — served as LDC’s treasurer in 2013. The LDC is affiliated with the Turkic American Alliance, which itself paid travel expenses for 11 House staffers to the Baku conference in May 2013.
Gulen is a political opponent of Turkish President Recep Erdogan, who has accused him of treason. Gulen’s Saylorsburg, Pa., address, where he has a 26-acre compound, abuts Dent’s district.
Meredith McGehee, policy director at the Campaign Legal Center in Washington, D.C. and an expert in congressional ethics, explained that conflicts of interest are bound to arise at times simply because lawmakers on the Ethics Committee, just like their colleagues who are not on the panel, need to raise funds. Still, she said, the contributions raise flags.
“How someone who is adjudicating something involving these parties accepts contributions from a party that’s involved in this seems totally inappropriate,” McGehee said. “You kind of have all the components you need to create a very glaring conflict here.”
Drew Kent, Dent’s chief of staff, disputed a substantive connection between the donors and the two Houston-based non-profits explicitly named in the Ethics Committee’s probe in an emailed statement.
“The Congressman has a long-standing relationship with the Turkish-American community in his district, has participated in events at the Lehigh Dialogue Center to promote inter-faith understanding and Turkish-American relations,” Kent said.
Kent added, “Any insinuation of impropriety by [Dent] or the local individuals who supported the Congressman is preposterous and not based in truth or fact.”
Representatives for the Turkic American Alliance could not be reached for comment by phone or email.

Gulen Politicians on the run- Turkey Retains Robert Amsterdam on Expansion of Gülen Investigation

With an inquiry into defrauding state funds and abuse of visa applications, the FBI has turned up the heat on schools linked to the controversial Gülen Movement of retired Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, a prime suspect in terror investigations in Turkey

Fethullah Gülen, a notable resident of Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania and a prime suspect in a number of terror investigations in Turkey, faces further troubles in his adopted country. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is investigating a school chain linked to his shady Gülen Movement for charges of fraud. The investigation is looking into allegations that the charter school chain diverted state funds it acquired to individuals and institutions tied with the movement, which faces terror charges in a number of investigations in Turkey, where it is formally called the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization or FETÖ.

The investigation is likely to boost Turkey's cause in its fight against the organization accused of overthrowing the Turkish government. Turkey had already employed an international law firm to assist in a global investigation into the activities of the Gülen Movement, which operates a worldwide network of schools and companies.

Concept Schools probed by the FBI operate 19 charter schools in several states and the Cleveland branch of the FBI leads the investigation into alleged wrongdoings in its activities. Vicki Anderson, the bureau's Cleveland Media Coordinator, told Anadolu Agency "a white-collar crime investigation" into the school chain was underway and she would not disclose further, as the investigation was ongoing. Anderson said an indictment will be released by the attorney's office soon.

The investigation was started after a series of raids in June 2014 at schools and offices of the Concept Schools network in Illinois, Ohio and Indiana. The FBI had seized documents regarding the school chain's contracts, documents related to e-rate grants and documents related to money transfers. E-rate is a program by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that provides discounts to schools in the United States for acquiring affordable equipment for telecommunications and Internet access. E-rate has a budget of $3.9 million and the school chain is suspected of diverting grants it received to acquire services from companies and people linked to the Gülen Movement and violating competition rules.

According to its website, Concept Schools, founded in 2002, operate 17 schools in Ohio, four in Illinois, three in Missouri, three in Indiana and one school each in Minnesota, Michigan and Wisconsin. Overall, there are more than 140 schools in 26 states operated by groups linked to the Gülen Movement, which is active in all continents with a large network of schools.

The Chicago Sun-Times had reported that Concept Schools had diverted nearly $1 million to eight companies going into 2014.

Gülenists are also claimed to have abused a work visa system for Turkish teachers they brought to the United States. Teachers are issued an H-1B, a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S.-based employers to temporarily employ foreigners in specialty occupations. Charter schools operated by Gülenists have long been a point of contention in the U.S. A New York Times article from 2011 was one of the first in-depth articles on the issue, pointing out to dubious contracts to new companies with little experience awarded by charter schools. The article, focused on Gülen-linked schools in Texas, had questioned the spending of taxpayers' money by publicly financed schools, especially in awarding contracts to Turkish-owned businesses linked to the movement. It also revealed that visa abuse dated back to at least 2009 and a complaint by a charter school union in Chicago over Concept Schools' abuse of the visa system.

Lawyer Robert Amsterdam of Amsterdam and Partners LLP, a law firm employed by Turkey to assist in the global investigation into the Gülen Movement, said at a press conference on Monday that companies in the United States linked to the movement had actively abused the visa system and brought in more foreign workers than large companies like Google into the United States. Amsterdam had said that most of those foreigners were not capable of teaching and had a limited knowledge of English. He claimed many of them were hired by charter schools and diverted nearly half of their income to the Gülen Movement.

Several schools affiliated with the movement are already closed. A school in Pennsylvania where Fethullah Gülen lives in a large compound was shut down for not fulfilling the criteria for charter schools. Truebright Science Academy was closed due to poor academic performance. The school was already under fire for irregularities in the H1B visa applications and employing inexperienced Turkish teachers paid more than their American counterparts.

Schools tied to the Gülen Movement have faced closures elsewhere in the world. As Turkey has stepped up its fight against the movement, Azerbaijan, a close ally of Turkey, shut down schools the movement operates in the country, as did Gabon and Senegal. In January, Tajikistan announced that it will not extend the agreement it made with the Gülen Movement over permission to operate schools in the country. Kosovo, Congo, Kazakhstan, Japan and Somalia have launched processes to close the movement's schools. Activities and operations of the Gülen Movement in the U.S. and Turkey have been scrutinized by a number of American media outlets that question the movement's motives, opacity and why the U.S. government is providing refuge for Fethullah Gülen, who is currently facing numerous charges including treason and extradition. The movement, led by Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., is accused of wiretapping thousands of people including government officials and encrypted phones. It has been accused of infiltrating state institutions in Turkey and trying to overthrow the government. Government officials have continuously expressed their determination to continue to lawfully fight the Gülen Movement, whose followers are accused of infiltrating state institutions to gain control of state mechanisms and illegal wiretapping, forgery of official documents and espionage.

Turkey, which has already purged a large number of Gülenist infiltrators from law enforcement and judiciary, is seeking to curb the movement's influence abroad in legal battles.

Lawyer Robert Amsterdam said at Monday's press conference that Gülenists were trying to gain political influence around the world with its activities through hiring international journalists. He said a comprehensive investigation into its activities was needed.

Amsterdam argued that an international investigation launched against the Gülen Movement will be of benefit to everyone and it is necessary for the accountability that global norms require. The lawyer had also claimed that they received death threats from Gülenists since they announced they would work with Turkey for investigation into Gülenists' activities.

Speaking to A Haber TV yesterday, Robert Amsterdam said they were still in the early stages of an investigation and was monitoring the FBI operations against Gülenist-linked schools. Amsterdam said the investigation is focused on overall organization rather than Fethullah Gülen. He said Gülen-linked schools received approximately $150 million from state funds in the United States every year.

Amsterdam also reiterated death threats by members of the movement, which advocates a peaceful dialogue between people of different faiths. He said Gülenist media outlets also released news reports defaming him and his firm. He said the extent of threats in the form of phone calls and e-mails showed the movement was not as transparent as it claims to be. Amsterdam stressed that the movement had a significant power in politics in the United States. The lawyer said the Gülen Movement funded congressmen and senators to wield influence.