"People who contribute get the ear of the member and the ear of the staff. They have the access and access is it. Access is power. Access is clout. That's how this thing works."
~ Rep. Romano Mazzoli.
~ Rep. Romano Mazzoli.
In mulling over the Schmidt v. Krikorian case, I'm drawn back to the activity of Hittite Microwave founder Yalçın Ayaslı and the Ayaslı in the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), which also funds the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF). The TALDF is the organization that has provided legal counsel to Jean Schmidt in the case.
Both the TCA and the TC-USA PAC were established in February 2007. Yalçın Ayaslı is not listed on the TCA website but is listed on the TCA's 2007 Form 990 as the director of the organization. The TCA holds 600,000 shares of Hittite Microwave, which accounts for the vast majority of its assets. Ayaslı must have been involved with the establishment of the TCA, which is a propaganda organ of the Turkish lobby, and the next question would be if he were involved with the establishment of the TC-USA PAC. The TC-USA PAC is not a 501(c)3 so it is not restricted according to IRS exemption requirements for 501(c)3 organizations, most specifically in this case, the political restrictions:
In addition, it [a 501(c)3 organiztion] may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.
This allows for the TC-USA PAC to pursue its "immediate goal":
The immediate goal, however, is to raise money from the Turkish American community in order to make political contribubtions to the campaigns of Turkish Caucus members. TC-USA PAC, as of July, has contributed to some 25 congressional campaigns. “This is the first time that such endeavors are being made,” says McCurdy. Due to TC-USA PAC’s activities, Turkish Americans, who are regarded as a relatively new US immigrant group, have begun to make their presence felt in the political arena. As the 2008 election approaches, the role of this Turkish American political action committee becomes even more important.
Following the money, although Ayaslı and his family members gave more than $300,000 in campaign contributions in the 2006 campaign cycle and most of that was not given to local New Hampshire candidates. Moreover, $39,000 was given to the TC-USA PAC.
If we look at Yalçın Ayaslı's campaign contributions for the 2008 campaign cycle, we find something interesting.
Going down the list, Dan Burton (R-IN) received money from Ayaslı and, lo and behold, Burton is a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans. Sibel Edmonds testified that Burton was involved in ""[E]xtremely illegal activities against the United States citizens who were involved in [covert] operations that were ... against ... foreign government[s] and foreign entities against the United States' interests."
Jean Schmidt (R-OH) received money from Ayaslı, even though she doesn't remember the guy, and, what do you know?? She's a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!
Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) received money from Ayaslı and, what a coincidence! He's a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) received money from Ayaslı and, imagine it! She's also a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!
Do you see a pattern developing here? These people are not from Ayaslı's home state of New Hampshire and they're all members of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans. Remember what the "immediate goal" was? Remember, too, that there is no significant Turkish-American constituency in Jean Schmidt's Ohio congressional district. Instead of constituents contributing to a politician's campaign, you have some rich guy in New Hampshire with a political agenda favorable to a foreign power helping to pay the bills.
And he who pays the piper calls the tune.