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Flashback: Feds Search Offices of McKinney Donors for Evidence of Terror Funding

U.S. Customs looks for connection to terrorism

Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D.-Ga.) took $5,500 in campaign contributions in 2001 from seven donors whose organizations’ offices were recently searched by federal agents as part of an effort to collect information about terrorist groups.

Among these donors was Abdurahman Alamoudi, an avowed supporter of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Alamoudi gave McKinney $2,000 on Sept. 11, 2001, according to a Federal Election Commission (FEC) report. Another three of the seven donors’ contributions were also received on that date.

Each of the seven McKinney contributors is associated with at least one of six organizations whose offices were searched in late March by the Customs Service. These organizations include the Success Foundation, the Safa Trust, Mar Jac Investments, the International Institute of Islamic Thought, the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences, and the York Foundation.

Four of the seven contributors—Yaqub Mirza, Jamal Barzinji, Taha Al-Alwani, and Ahmad Totonji—are mentioned by name in a search warrant issued to the Customs Service by a federal court, a copy of which was obtained by Human Events. The warrant, signed by Federal Magistrate Theresa Buchanan, authorized Customs to seize financial records from 21 groups in search of evidence of "material support to foreign terrorist organizations, conspiracy to defraud the United States by impeding the functions of the Internal Revenue Service, and conspiracy to engage in international transfers of money to promote offenses against foreign nations involving murder or destruction of property by means of explosives."

None of the McKinney contributors has been charged with any crime, a Customs spokesman said.

Two of the contributors—Mirza and Barzinji—did not return calls from Human Events, although Mirza denied any wrongdoing in an interview with the Washington Post. Totonji hung up during a telephone interview when asked about his contribution to McKinney. Alamoudi—who was also in the news last week over his earlier contributions to McKinney and Rep. James Moran (D.-Va.)—could not be reached by telephone.

Won’t Discuss Donations

McKinney’s campaign reported taking 24 donations worth $13,850 on Sept. 11, 2001—her second-biggest fundraising day of the year, according to FEC records.

McKinney spokeswoman Dana Mott refused to speak to Human Events about the context of these donations. "I just can’t discuss that," she said. She referred all inquiries on the matter to McKinney’s campaign headquarters in Georgia. No one answered the phone at the campaign headquarters last week, and messages left on its answering machine by Human Events went unanswered.

An FEC spokesman said that campaigns are supposed to report donations on the date they receive them, which may not be the same date the gifts are made. One of McKinney’s September 11 contributors—Sabah Jabri, a retiree from San Diego—told Human Events that he sent his $250 contribution after receiving a fundraising letter from McKinney "some time during the summer."

Mott also said she could not discuss whether McKinney would return Alamoudi’s donation. Other politicians—such as President Bush, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) and Rep. John Sununu (R.-N.H.)—all returned contributions from Alamoudi after he declared his support for the terrorist group Hamas to a cheering crowd at an October 2000 demonstration in front of the White House. "Hear that, Bill Clinton? We are all supporters of Hamas," he said during a rally shortly after the beginning of the Palestinian Intifada. Later in the demonstration, he cited press reports labeling him as a supporter of Hamas, and said, "I wish they added that I am also a supporter of Hezbollah."

Other press reports have recently noted Alamoudi’s earlier contributions to McKinney, including $1,000 during the 2000 election cycle.

Human Events’ analysis of McKinney’s contributions also found that, unlike previous election cycles, when she got 20% to 40% of her campaign cash from outside Georgia, McKinney received more than 90% of her itemized individual contributions from outside her state in 2001.

During the period Sept. 11, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2001, all but one of her 108 itemized contributions came from individuals from out-of-state. Of those 108 contributions, 100 came from Americans with clearly identifiable Arabic first names.

McKinney supports the Palestinians in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and opposes racial profiling.

McKinney created a controversy when she suggested on a Berkeley, Calif., radio station on March 25 that President Bush may have withheld prior knowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks so that his friends could profit from the war that was sure to follow.

Written By

Mr. Freddoso is the senior political reporter for the Evans-Novak Political Report.

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