WASHINGTON, DC – Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) became the latest House member to join the army of Washington, DC public relations firms working to cover up Turkey’s crimes, reported the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).
Dickstein Shapiro, LLP announced that the former Speaker joined their team in a press release last week. The firm, which represents a broad range of entities including General Motors, Kraft Foods and Pfizer, also represents the Government of Turkey “in connection with the development and financing by private sponsors of the Baku-Ceyhan oil pipeline and TransCaspian gas pipeline spanning from the Caspian Sea to the Mediterranean.”
According to an ABC News story, “Ex-House Speaker Hastert Finds New Home” by Justin Rood, a Dickstein Shapiro representative “could not say whether or not Hastert would be working on projects involving that country.” To read the complete ABC News story and to offer your comment on this coverage, see “Additional Resources” on this page.
No stranger to Turkish American issues, as Speaker, Hastert led efforts to block Armenian Genocide legislation from passage dating back to October of 2000, when he withdrew H.Res.596, introduced by Rep. George Radanovich (R-CA), from the Congressional docket just five minutes prior to its consideration. Speaker Hastert cited a letter from President Bill Clinton expressing concerns about the national security implications of the resolution. In his subsequent terms as Speaker, Hastert blocked a series of Armenian Genocide resolutions from reaching the House floor, despite widespread Congressional support and grassroots calls for legislative action. In 2004, when the House adopted an amendment to the foreign aid bill blocking Turkey’s use of U.S. funds for lobbying efforts to deny the Armenian Genocide, Hastert’s response was swift, joining with Majority Leader Blunt and Majority Whip Tom DeLay in sharply criticizing the measure: “Turkey has been a reliable ally of the United States for decades, and the deep foundation upon which our mutual economic and security relationship rests should not be disrupted by this amendment.”
In 2005, Armenian Americans joined with System of a Down band members Serj Tankian and John Dolmayan in a rally in front of the Speaker Hastert’s Batavia, IL office urging him to allow passage of the Armenian Genocide Resolution. That effort was part of an eight-year ANCA national grassroots campaign urging then Speaker Hastert to allow Congress to have an up or down vote on the Armenian Genocide.
Vanity Fair Cites Hastert Ties with Turkish Government
An expose printed in the September 2005 issue of Vanity Fair revealed possible ties between Speaker Hastert and Turkish nationals geared to scuttle the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The magazine published a 10-page story on FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, who was fired after “she accused a colleague of covering up illicit activity involving Turkish nationals.” According to the article by contributing editor David Rose, Edmonds claims FBI wiretaps revealed that the Turkish government and its allies boasted of bribing – with as much as $500,000 – the Speaker of the House of Representatives as part of an alleged deal to stop consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution.
The article cited accounts by Edmonds regarding FBI wiretaps of the Turkish Embassy and Turkish groups such as the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), including, “repeated references to Hastert’s flip-flop in the fall of 2000, over an issue which remains of intense concern to the Turkish government, the continuing campaign to have Congress designate the killings of Armenians in Turkey between 1915 and 1923 a genocide.”
Rose is careful to point out that “there is no evidence that any payment was ever made to Hastert or his campaign.” According to the article, “Hastert’s spokesman says the Congressman withdrew the genocide resolution only because of the approach from [President] Clinton, ‘and to insinuate anything else just doesn’t make any sense.’ He adds that Hastert has no affiliation with the ATC or other groups reportedly mentioned in the wiretaps.'”
In 2007, the ANCA joined a broad cross-section of civil liberties, public policy and human rights groups in calling on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in Congress to hold public hearings on the case of FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. No hearings have been held to date.
Former House Members Line Up to Support Turkey
Ex-Speaker Hastert is the latest in a long line of former House Members who have joined firms on the Turkish government’s payroll. Former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) at DLA Piper led efforts to block full House consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution (H.Res.106 / S.res.106) for an annual fee of $1.2 million. Former House Appropriations Committee Chairman Bob Livingston of the Livingston Firm LLC, has, over the years, received over $12 million from the Turkish Government. He was recently let go by Turkey, and took on an even more lucrative agreement working for Libya.
Turkey’s efforts to buy influence in Washington DC and in U.S. academic circles was recently outlined in a powerful editorial and expose by David Holthouse in the Southern Policy Law Center (SPLC) Intelligence Report. The SPLC resources are featured in the “Additional Resources” link above.