Washington: Indiana Congressman Dan Burton, a strong pro-Pakistan Republican Party member, is the biggest single recipient of funds from a man accused of being a spy for the Pakistani government. But Barack Obama was also one of the beneficiaries, getting a $250 donation during the 2008 presidential campaign, a media report said Wednesday.
Ghulam Nabi Fai was arrested Tuesday by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) following a probe disclosing that Pakistani intelligence services had secretly spent millions of dollars through a front group over the past 20 years to lobby Congress and the White House to tilt their Kashmir opinion against India.
According to the Washington Post, Federal Election Commission records show that Fai and his aide Zaheer Ahmad have donated at least $30,000 to campaigns and political parties, including a $250 donation to Obama two days before the November 2008 election.
An aide for Obama`s 2012 re-election campaign said the contribution would be returned, the Post said.
The biggest beneficiaries were the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which received $9,500 from Fai, and Burton, who received about $10,000 since 1997, the records show.
Burton is founder of the House Kashmiri caucus and has traveled to the region on trips sponsored by Fai`s group. He has long advocated for a settlement to the conflict that would favor Pakistan over India.
Burton, according to the Post, said in a statement Tuesday that he has known Fai for 20 years and was "deeply shocked" by his arrest. He said he will donate any illegal contributions to the Boy Scouts of America.
"I had no inkling of his involvement with any foreign intelligence operation and had presumed our correspondence was legitimate," Burton said.
"For as long as I`ve known him, Dr. Fai has been either a permanent legal resident of the United States or a citizen, and as such any political contributions I may have received from Dr. Fai over the years are completely legal."