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After Siljander's Indictment, Is His Old District Jinxed?

Maybe there's something cursed about the House seat in Michigan's Sixth congressional district.

How else to explain the fact that the previous two Republicans to hold that southwestern Michigan seat are both facing felony charges?

It was a shocker when David A. Stockman, the one-time congressman from the Sixth ( actually the 4th back then, before redistricting) who went on to become President Reagan's White House budget director in the early 1980s, was indicted last year on charges of conspiracy and securities fraud involving a Michigan auto parts company.

Now we learn that Stockman's successor in Congress, Mark Deli Siljander, was indicted today for his role in an alleged terrorist fundraising ring.

The Associated Press reports that Siljander was indicted in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Mo., and charged with money laundering and allegedly lying about whether he had lobbied senators on behalf of the Islamic American Relief Agency. That group has been accused of stealing money from the U.S. Agency for International Development and of secretly funding and supporting terrorist groups, including al Qaeda.

As for Siljander's congressional career, the Michigander was elected to the House in 1981 in a special election to fill the seat when Stockman departed for the new Reagan administration. Siljander was re-elected twice before being defeated in the 1986 GOP primary by current Rep. Fred Upton. While in the House, Siljander served on the Foreign Affairs Committee, including on its subcommittee on Europe and the Middle East.

In 1987 Reagan appointed Siljander to serve as a delegate to the United Nations, a post he held for a year. Siljander tried to make a return to Congress in 1992, but lost in the GOP primary in the Northern Virginia seat won that year by Leslie Byrne (D).

Since then, Siljander has served as a lobbyist and consultant and held a variety of academic positions focused on the Middle East and Islamic issues.

By Ben Pershing  |  January 16, 2008; 6:43 PM ET
Categories:  Ethics and Rules  
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