One of coup plot leaders was Clinton donor: Report
WASHINGTONOne of the suspected leaders of the July 15 failed coup attempt, for whom an arrest warrant has been issued, was at the center of a group of suspicious 2014 contributions to a super political action committee (PAC) supporting Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to an analysis by USA TODAY.
A company created by Adil Öksüz, who is believed to have ties to U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, made a $5,000 donation to the Ready for Hillary PAC, a group preparing for Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to the report on Aug. 24.
“A company called Harmony Enterprises gave $5,000 to the PAC on June 27, 2014, campaign finance records show. Öksüz registered Harmony in New Jersey in 2010, according to state corporate records. It is the only campaign donation the company had ever made,” the report read, as it added that the Clinton campaign, which did not control the operations of the super PAC, didn’t provide a response to USA TODAY’s questions.
“The company website suggests it is a paper manufacturing business, but the address listed on the corporate records is a used-car lot on a highway in Lodi, N.J. Harmony’s phone number is disconnected,” it added.
Foreign nationals are not allowed by law to make campaign donations, but foreign-owned companies are allowed to donate as long as they are using U.S.-generated profits and the decision to donate is made by U.S citizens who work for the company, the newspaper said, citing election lawyer Charlie Spies.
“There is no public information showing whether the Harmony donation complied with campaign finance laws,” it also read.
The donation was reportedly one of a half-dozen donations made to Ready PAC that same day totaling more than $62,000 from Turkish Americans in and around Lodi. Much of that money came from companies that no longer exist or may have never existed, or from donors who cannot be located, campaign and corporate records show, according to the report.
Most of the donors reportedly have clear ties to the Gülen movement.
The pattern reemerged in donations to Clinton’s PAC on June 27, 2014. Along with Öksüz’s Harmony Enterprises, a second business at the Lodi, N.J., address — Under 70 Auto Sales, a used-car lot — donated $7,500 to Ready PAC that day. That company was owned by Abdulhadi Yıldırım, whom Turkish news reports identified as Öksüz’s U.S.-based brother-in-law.
Yıldırım’s LinkedIn page lists him as “Executive Director at Harmony Enterprises.” The phone number at Under 70 Auto Sales is disconnected, according to the report.
In the wake of the July 15 failed coup attempt, the Turkish government declared that Öksüz was the “imam of the Air Force” and a leader of the plot in Turkey. He was briefly detained and then released after the coup attempt but is now being sought with an arrest warrant.
According to USA TODAY, a network of Gülen-affiliated organizations provided members of Congress and staff hundreds of free trips to Turkey, many of which it discovered were secretly funded by Turkish entities in violation of congressional travel rules.
“Gülen-affiliated Turkish Americans have also provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in suspicious donations to political campaigns in the United States. The donations often arrive in groups of five to 10 high-dollar contributions from first-time political donors whose employment declarations provide no evidence they can afford the checks they are writing,” the report said.