WASHINGTON (JTA) — The U.S. Treasury Department is investigating speaking fees allegedly paid to former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on behalf of a State Department-designated terrorist organization.
The Treasury Department is seeking to subpoena records of payments made by backers of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian dissident group, to Rendell for his speaking engagements on behalf of the group, the Washington Times wrote in a story published March 9.
Rendell is one of many prominent Jewish officials, including former Attorney General Michael Muskasey and Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz, who speak on behalf of the MEK.
Rendell and other political officials have called for the MEK to be removed from the State Department terrorist list, claiming that there are no credible reports that it has engaged in violence in more than two decades.
Additionally, they say, the MEK, which had been harbored in Iraq by Saddam Hussein’s regime, complied with a U.S. directive and disarmed after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. It is now vulnerable to an Iranian-tilting Iraqi government, and delisting the group would facilitate finding refuge for the 3,400 members remaining in Iraq.
The MEK has called for the overthrow of the religious leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The MEK has been on the State Department terrorist list since 1997.