Former Michigan Rep. and delegate to the U.N. Mark Siljander was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison for lobbying on behalf of an Islamic charity that turned out to have ties to terrorists.
“I did something wrong,” Siljander said in the sentencing hearing Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. “I mistreated the system I believe in. I mistreated my family and friends. I should have known better. I failed too many people, including myself and my family. I ask for your mercy.”
In July, 2010, Siljander (R) pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and “acting as an unregistered foreign agent” for his ties to the now-defunct Islamic American Relief Agency, and for lying to federal investigators during their probe of the charity.
He had been indicted in 2008 for allegedly receiving money from the Missouri-based IARA, which was put on a Treasury Department list of charities that fund suspected terrorists in 2004. He was accused of taking $75,000 from the group to help it get its name removed from that government list — some $50,000 of which was allegedly stolen from the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Siljander, who became a lobbyist after serving in Congress from 1981-1987, claimed that the money was a “donation” for his book “A Deadly Misunderstanding: A Congressman’s Quest to Bridge the Muslim-Christian Divide.”
Siljander’s four co-defendants were also sentenced at the hearing, including Mubarak Hamed, the ex-executive director of the IARA, who got about five years.