Every penny you donate to a U.S. lawmaker is supposed to be recorded. The amount of the donation, as well as the name of the donor, his address, occupation and other details should be in the records. Yet, it is a major issue in American domestic politics that those records are not properly kept or ever scrutinized by the Ethics Committee in Congress.
That is until a major news outlet or an investigative reporter spending time and energy on it goes through the papers, illegible receipts and faded books and gets to the bottom of it.
The USA Today newspaper is the first and only national daily newspaper in America. Of course, there are local and regional newspapers with larger staffs and more advertisement revenue than USA Today, but still it is the only newspaper distributed all over the continent.
A short while ago, a national reporter for USA Today, Paul Singer, did a very comprehensive investigation of some lawmakers who have been receiving large donations. In journalism, as in the social sciences, the prevalent investigation method to prove a hypothesis is that you do not turn each and every stone over to find something; you only look at a representative sample of all stones, and if you find what you are looking for under it, you safely say that the stones of the same features might have the same thing under them if you look at them one by one. If anybody is interested in finding everything under all stones, then they do turn them. But you would have proved your point.
What was the point that USA Today reporter was trying to make? He did not put it in these words, but we can conclude after reading his reports that it was: How was a cult turning U.S. lawmakers into its mercenaries? The U.S. Constitution puts free speech on such a high pedestal that it is almost sacred in the eyes of society. A speech, testimony or a position paper that a lawmaker makes is by extension the holiest of the holy in America. Therefore, the law and the 200-year-old practice in the U.S. practically prohibit any censure of lawmakers. Unless it is proven that the senator or the representative is on the receiving end of a pay system. What USA Today proved is that there are a group of lawmakers in the U.S. capital who have received money from the cult of Fetullah Gülen and traveled more than 200 times to Turkey. New Hampshire Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte had to return thousands of dollars of contributions to donors. President Obama and Hillary Clinton also received enormous sums of money from the same suspicious donors, too, and they need to return those monies.
For many, this cult is still a "Turkish religious movement" despite the proven facts, court papers and endless testimonies that it is neither Turkish nor religious or a movement. USA Today has identified those who made large campaign donations even though they have small incomes. Interviewed by USA Today staff, some of these people do not even have any information about the donation they made. However, the reporters found out that all the donors have ties to Gülen. These contributions to U.S. lawmakers came from outside of their election regions. Some of the donors belong to Gülenist schools, which are located all over the country. If they were able to create their network in the Capitol Hill too, one can easily imagine what they would have done in localities where they wished to erect their charter schools. At last count, they had more than 150 schools in 26 states and the District of Columbia. The number of schools closed or removed from Gülenist control and converted to private schools is close to 15.
USA Today writes: "Gülen-linked money has flowed into campaigns all over the country, both Republicans and Democrats, and much of it raises red flags." The newspaper cites many cases of out-of-state donations. It reports that almost none of the contributors could be reached for comment. Now you know why the U.S. Congress dares to ban arms sales to a NATO ally, while it endorses free donations of 5,000 16-wheelers full of arms for a PKK-affiliated terrorist organization.
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