Top GOP leaders sign on to call for Freeman investigation


Nine members of the House of Representatives, including the House Minority Leader and Whip, are asking the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s Inspector General to investigate the financial ties to Saudi Arabia of new National Intelligence Committee chair Charles "Chas" Freeman. The bipartisan group — although it includes just one Democrat, Rep. Shelley Berkley (Nev.) — wants the IG to look at both the personal ties of Freeman to the Kingdom and the ties of the organization he chaired for more than 11 years, the Middle East Policy Council. (Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) sent a similar letter to the IG over the weekend.)

Freeman has said the council received a $1 million donation from the Saudis, which the letter notes, but then the congressional group, led by Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), goes on to say that MEPC "has never publicly released its list of contributors" — enclosing a tax form with a list of contributors apparently blacked out as if the group is hiding something. In fact, though, non-profits do not have to disclose their contributors — Bill Clinton only did it for his foundation in order to faciliate Hillary’s confirmation as secretary of state — and the form enclosed says at the top "Not Open for Public Inspection."

Here’s the full letter:

Mr. Edward Maguire

Inspector General

Office of the Director of National Intelligence

Washington, DC 20511

Dear Mr. Maguire:

We are writing with concern over the appointment of Charles “Chas” Freeman as the next Chairman of the National Intelligence Council.  Given his close ties to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, we request a comprehensive review of Amb. Freeman’s past and current commercial, financial and contractual ties to the Kingdom to ensure no conflict of interest exists in his new position.

As you may know, Amb. Freeman most recently served as President of the Middle East Policy Council, a think-tank funded by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  The board of directors includes Dr. Fuad Rihani, a consultant to the Saudi Binladin Group – a multinational construction conglomerate and holding company for the assets owned by the bin Laden family.

On September 20, 2006, in an interview with the Saudi-US Relations Information Service, Amb. Freeman said that “thanks to the generosity of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia we have managed to accumulate an endowment” for the Middle East Policy Council.  According to filings with the Internal Revenue Service, Amb. Freeman drew an annual salary from the Middle East Policy Council.  However, the foundation has never publicly released its list of contributors – Schedule B of IRS Form 990.

We ask you to fully investigate Amb. Freeman’s past and current relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – both personal financial disclosures and the list of all contributors to the Middle East Policy Council across all years that Amb. Freeman drew a salary from the foundation – and report back to Congress on any potential conflicts of interest.


                                    Mark Steven Kirk                Shelley Berkley

                                    John Boehner                       Eric Cantor

                                    Mike Rogers (MI)                Sue Myrick

                                    Bob Inglis                      Patrick McHenry

                                    Doug Lamborn            Leonard Lance


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