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Mark D. Siljander

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Title: Mark D. Siljander  
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Subject: 97th United States Congress, The Shouters, Hestor L. Stevens, Joseph L. Hooper, Henry C. Smith
Collection: 1951 Births, American Christians, George Wythe University Alumni, Living People, Members of the Michigan House of Representatives, Members of the United States House of Representatives from Michigan, Michigan Politicians Convicted of Crimes, Michigan Republicans, People Convicted of Obstruction of Justice, People from Fairfax County, Virginia, Politicians from Chicago, Illinois, Republican Party Members of the United States House of Representatives, Virginia Republicans, Western Michigan University Alumni
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Mark D. Siljander

Mark Deli Siljander (born June 11, 1951) is a former Republican U.S. Representative and deputy United Nations ambassador from the state of Michigan.[1] He was convicted of obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent related to his work for an Islamic charity with ties to international terrorism. Siljander pleaded guilty to the charges in federal court on July 7, 2010.


  • Early life, education, and early career 1
  • U.S. House of Representatives 2
    • Elections 2.1
    • Tenure 2.2
    • Committee assignments 2.3
  • Post-congressional career 3
    • Reagan administration 3.1
    • 1992 congressional election 3.2
    • Private career 3.3
    • 2008 indictment 3.4
    • USAID 3.5
  • Bibliography 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life, education, and early career

Siljander was born in Chicago, Illinois, where he attended the public schools, having graduated in 1969 from Oak Park and River Forest High School.[2] He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1972 and a Master of Arts from Western Michigan in 1973.[2] Siljander was awarded an honorary doctorate in humanities from Coral Ridge Baptist University, Jacksonville, Florida. He is widely traveled, and claims to have visited over 120 countries.[3]

He was also awarded a Cedar City, Utah (accreditation pending),[5] where he was listed as a faculty member.[4]

George Wythe College officials have since attempted to disclaim his doctoral degree:

Our investigation revealed that Siljander’s PhD in International Business was another illegitimate exception arranged by DeMille which never involved any coursework. Instead, Siljander’s file contains conclusive evidence that his degree was awarded for two improper sources of credit. First, Siljander was allowed to apply the same 56 hours of credit for which he had already been awarded his MA at Western Michigan University. Second, Siljander’s dissertation was comprised only of a post facto written description of his startup business venture that relied heavily upon his previous service as a congressman, combined with a marketing packet which the business utilized. For this he received 30 hours of life-experience credit. There is no record of Siljander enrolling in, attending, or receiving grades for any classes.
Of particular interest is a letter on file from Siljander in 1994 lamenting the difficulty he had been experiencing while trying to earn a living as a former congressman without adequate credentials. In this letter, Siljander expressly suggested that he and DeMille could arrive at a creative solution with regard to these previously used credits in conjunction with life-experience credit in order to be awarded a PhD. He concluded by pitching his capacity to benefit to the school in the future."[6]

He served as a trustee on Fabius Township Board in St. Joseph County, Michigan, from 1972 to 1976 and also worked as a real estate broker.[2]

U.S. House of Representatives


The Fourth Congressional district at that time was in southwestern Michigan and included Three Rivers and Kalamazoo.[7]

Although the 4th (and its successor, the 6th) has traditionally been a bastion of moderate Republicanism, Siljander was an outspoken social conservative. He criticized Reagan's Supreme Court appointment of Sandra Day O'Connor.[8] Time reported on Siljander's election:

"I'm part of the silent majority that was heard Nov. 4 [when President Reagan was elected]," says Siljander. "My support comes from morally concerned citizens who are sick of the situation in this country." Siljander pledges to battle the Equal Rights Amendment, pornography, abortion, school busing and "big spending." He will champion the neutron bomb, the MX missile and prayer in public schools.[9]

He described himself as "trained as an evangelical Christian; I was a poster boy for Jerry Falwell."[10]


When incumbent Republican Party U.S. Congressman David A. Stockman from Michigan's 42 District resigned to become President Ronald Reagan's Director of the Office of Management and Budget. In the following special Republican primary, Siljander ranked first in a seven candidate field with a plurality of 37%.[11] He defeated Stockman-endorsed tax attorney John Globensky (36%) and State Senator John Mowat (22%).[12][13] In the April 1981 special general election, he defeated Democratic Cass County Commissioner Johnie Rodebush 69%-29%.[14][15][16]


Siljander was challenged in the next Republican primary by attorney Harold Schuitmaker and defeated him 56%-44%.[17] In the general election, he won re-election to a full term with 60% of the vote.[18]


He was challenged again in the Republican primary, and defeated Tim Horan 58%-42%.[19] In the general election, he won re-election to a second full term with 67% of the vote.[20]

In 1984, Siljander sponsored a single-sentence amendment which read, "For the purposes of this Act, the term 'person' shall include unborn children from the moment of conception." Alexander Cockburn referred to the Siljander Amendment as "the most far-reaching of all the measures dreamed up by the conservative right to undercut Roe v. Wade."[21] It failed 186-219.[22]

In 1985, Siljander proposed legislation which would deny Most Favored Nation status to countries that discriminate on cultural, ethnic or religious grounds.[23][24]


Once again he was challenged in the Republican primary, this time by Fred Upton, a staffer to Stockman. Upton defeated Siljander 55%-45%, ending his political career.[25] Siljander's defeat was attributed to a controversial mailing he made during the party primary asking fundamentalists to "break the back of Satan" by praying and fasting for his re-election.[26]


In 1986, Siljander signed a statement outlining his religious beliefs.[27] Siljander takes an interest in conflict resolution, particularly in the Islamic world, and in recent years has tried to publicize the common ground between Christianity and Islam, particularly in the portrayal of Jesus in the Qur'an. Early in his career, Siljander heard a speaker read from the Qur'an at a prayer breakfast, unaware that this was not a reading from the Bible. When the truth was announced to his surprise, Siljander wrote a letter to the speaker, stating: "How can you read the book of the devil at a prayer breakfast?"[10]

Committee assignments

He served on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and on its Middle East and Africa subcommittees.

Post-congressional career

Reagan administration

Siljander was appointed by President Reagan as an alternate representative to the United Nations General Assembly, serving from September 1987 to September 1988.[2]

1992 congressional election

He was an unsuccessful candidate in 1992 for nomination to the

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
David Stockman
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan's 4th congressional district

Succeeded by
Fred Upton
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
  • Announcement of October 2005 Lectures at the University of Edinburgh Edinburgh Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies
  • Global Strategies, Inc. References List
  • Ex-lawmaker charged in terror conspiracy
  • Interview with Mark Siljander on "A Deadly Misunderstanding" by

External links

  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e f
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b George Wythe College: Siljander Bio at the Wayback Machine (archived March 23, 2008)
  5. ^ George Wythe College: Disclaimer at the Wayback Machine (archived January 7, 2009)
  6. ^ "Final Steps in the Administrative Transformation of George Wythe University," George Wythe University, October 12, 2012
  7. ^ Siljander indictment 'shocking' - Michigan News, Updates, Photos & Video | Detroit, Lansing -
  8. ^,4506832&dq=mark+siljander&hl=en
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^,1983417&dq=mark+siljander&hl=en
  13. ^,2264215&dq=mark+siljander&hl=en
  14. ^
  15. ^,1915455&dq=mark+siljander&hl=en
  16. ^,4465399&dq=mark+siljander&hl=en
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ NCHLA
  23. ^
  24. ^ Why Romania No Longer Deserves to Be a Most Favored Nation
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ [1]
  28. ^
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^ Archived January 20, 2002 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Lawmakers, colleagues react to Siljander’s indictment
  33. ^ HarperOne: Book publicity
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ WORLD MAGAZINE, January 11, 2012SentencedEmily Belz:
  37. ^ [2]
  38. ^
  39. ^ Edinburgh Centre for Muslim-Christian Studies - Special Lectures 2005 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 21, 2006)
  40. ^ a b 2009 NAUTILUS BOOK AWARDS SILVER WINNERS at the Wayback Machine (archived May 17, 2009)
  41. ^
  42. ^
  43. ^
  44. ^ Ex-Congressman Charged in Terror Case by Lara Jakes Jordan, Associated Press, Posted: 2008-01-16
  45. ^ 477 F.3d 728
  46. ^
  47. ^ The Money Trail at the Wayback Machine (archived June 12, 2007) MSNBC Newsweek Retrieved January 13, 2012
  48. ^
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b
  51. ^ Archived October 21, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  52. ^ a b
  53. ^
  54. ^ a b USAID Temporarily Delays Implementation of Partner Vetting System - Charities and National Security - OMB Watch at the Wayback Machine (archived November 3, 2008)
  55. ^ OIG Semiannual Report to the Congress
  56. ^
  57. ^ [3]
  58. ^
  59. ^ Sanchez, Julian, "Wiretappings True Danger", Los Angeles Times, Opinion, 2008-03-16 [4]
  60. ^ Think Progress » Gitmo Lawyers File Constitutional Challenge Of Recently-Passed FISA Bill
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ , July 8, 2010. Accessed August 31, 2011.Kalamazoo GazetteChris Killian, "Pity, disbelief expressed for Mark Siljander: Former Southwest Michigan congressman pleads guilty to federal charges",
  64. ^ , January 12, 2012.Reuters"Ex-Congressman gets year for links to defunct Islamic Charity",


  • [40]
  • Belz, Emily. "Bad Connections". WORLD magazine. 14 August 2010. pp. 44–6.


On July 7, 2010, Siljander pled guilty to obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent.[63] On January 12, 2012, he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison.[64]

As early as 1989, the IARA and Khaleel, president of the Muslim Student Association, had been linked to terrorist groups but that information had never been acted on and funds from the US continued to flow to that group for 9 more years.[62]

FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) wiretaps were used to support "domestic" charges against Siljander. A number of legal experts believe that the use of FISA intercepts in domestic cases may be outside the scope of the Act. As some charges against Siljander are unrelated to any foreign activity or any relationship to terrorism in any form yet are purportedly supported by FISA wiretaps, this case may provide a challenge to other FISA related cases.[59][60] Highly classified documents, accidentally released to defendants in an unrelated case, showed that the government targeted individuals in domestic wiretaps, an act clearly outside FISA authorization and generally recognized as unconstitutional.[61]

A report released in a Justice Department audit performed by Justice Department Inspector General Gerald Fine, on March 18, 2008, indicated that "the FBI and other agencies had, since 2003, proven incapable of managing watch lists or coordinating activities." The charity in question, the IARA, represented by lobbyist, former Congressman Hanrahan, and the primary subject of the series of indictments was one of the groups at the heart of this confusion and ambiguity.[50]

In an amended news release, Schlozman was made to correct errors in the initial press release which tried to tie Siljander to terrorist organizations.[57][58]

The Bush Administration admitted in conjunction with a variety of organizations that efforts to screen groups from potential involvement in support of terrorism have been plagued with errors at every level. "The decision, announced Tuesday at a meeting of U.S. officials and representatives of nonprofit groups, was made after lawmakers and several large aid organizations said that the global screening requirements were onerous and unwarranted. An official of the U.S. Agency for International Development had earlier promised to defer the program, which initially was to have taken effect Monday."[56]

Further, the USAID indicates that there is no mechanism for effectively monitoring "blacklisted" groups: "USAID cannot confirm or deny whether an individual passed or failed screening." This secrecy was part of the focus of comments OMB Watch submitted to USAID, which stated, "PVS will more than likely result in the creation of a secret USAID blacklist of ineligible grant applicants, based on PVS results. Organizations and individuals erroneously listed as having ties with terrorism will have no way of knowing they are deemed as such, or why. Innocent and well deserving grantees will have no formal means of appealing such decisions."[54]

However, the source of the allegedly misused funds, the USAID, a government agency tasked with promoting American values worldwide, indicates that none of their funds were misused: "According to the most recent USAID Office of Inspector General report, which covers October 2006 to the end of March 2007, "OIG oversight activities during this period did not identify any instances where terrorist organizations received USAID funds." USAID audit procedures should be enough to prevent terrorist financing."[54][55]


"It's not clear whether Siljander ever engaged in the lobbying push," said John Wood, U.S. attorney in Kansas City.[52] Nevertheless, IARA paid Siljander with money that was part of U.S. government funding awarded to the charity years earlier for relief work it promised to perform in Africa, the indictment says.[52] Prosecutors initially alleged that Siljander was paid $50,000 by the Islamic American Relief Agency for acting as a lobbyist, money that was assigned by the U.S. Agency for International Development for other unnamed tasks. On January 28, 2008, Siljander appeared for a brief hearing in Kansas City, Missouri and pleaded not guilty in Federal court before a U.S. Magistrate Judge.[53]

The indictments against IARA members other than Siljander are based on allegations of underlying crime stemming from Ziyad Khaleel, who served as a regional manager for the charity in question as early as 1996 and is said to have purchased a satellite phone for Bin Laden. Even though Khaleel was believed to be associated with the charity according to the FBI and to have been a terrorist supporter, it took over four years for the US Government decide to blacklist the IARA and cut off U.S. government funding.[50][51]

Siljander himself faced only five counts, none of which are related to terrorism and are confined to money laundering, obstruction and conspiracy related to accusations of lobbying. Siljander alleges that his lobbying consisted of using USAID funds to subsidize the writing of his book[48] intended to provide strategies to undermine the influence of Islamic extremism.[49]

Those under indictment in related investigations face 42 counts on charges of money laundering, conspiracy, and obstruction of justice and material support of terrorism.[45][46][47]

[44] in 2003 and 2004, was masked as donations to an orphanage located in buildings that Hekmatyar owned.Pakistan, Peshawar. Siljander alleged he never engaged in lobbying for this group. The indictment claims that the money, sent to bank accounts in terrorist, whom the United States later designated a global Gulbuddin Hekmatyar were indicted for raising funds that were allegedly sent to [43] On January 16, 2008, Siljander was

2008 indictment

Siljander's book, A Deadly Misunderstanding is a 2009 Nautilus Silver Award Winner.[40]

In November 2006, Siljander gave a speech at Regent's Park College, Oxford, entitled "Overcoming the Muslim Western Divide: Seven Bridges to the Common Ground."[37][38] Siljander has studied Aramaic, Arabic and Hebrew languages.[39]

Now a resident of The Fellowship[36]

In 1994, Siljander joined the board of directors of Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian right legal fund.[30] In 1997, Siljander joined the lobbying firm Advantage Associates, which then employed 12 former members of Congress. Other members of the firm include firm president Bill Sarpalius, Bill Alexander, Ron Coleman, Bill Grant, Robert P. Hanrahan, Jerry Huckaby, Jerry M. Patterson, Howard Wallace Pollock, Richard Ray, Richard T. Schulze, and Bill Zeliff.[31] Siljander ended his ties with Advantage Associates prior to 2000.[32]

Private career

[2] won the general election.Leslie L. Byrne [29]

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