Exclusive: Lazio Solicited Head of New York’s Muslim Alliance

Representative Rick Lazio has sent a fund raising letter to the chairman of the New York chapter of the American Muslim Alliance, whose members Mr. Lazio denounced as supporters of Mideast terrorism after learning that the group raised $50,000 for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

The fund raising letter, sent to Dr. Faroque Khan, the New York chapter chairman, and bearing Mr. Lazio’s computer-generated signature, is dated Oct. 23–two days before Mr. Lazio assailed Mrs. Clinton for accepting money raised by Alliance at a fund raiser in Boston last June. Mr. Lazio referred to the funds, along with a $1,000 contribution from an official of another Muslim group, as “blood money.”

“It’s the height of hypocrisy,” said Dr. Khan, who provided a copy of the letter to The Observer . “On the one hand you want to take money from whoever wants to give it to you, and on the other, you are criticizing your opponent for accepting money from the same people.”

The American Muslim Alliance is a California-based organization whose president, Agha Saeed, has been accused of supporting Palestinian terrorism against Israel. He has said his pro-Palestinian remarks have been taken out of context, and Alliance officials have described it as a mainstream group.

Mrs. Clinton returned the $50,000 immediately after it became an issue. But Mr. Lazio has continued to hammer her incessantly for accepting the contributions.

“She’s caught,” Mr. Lazio said on Oct. 31. “She has to return $50,000 of tainted money, money that is given to her by people who believe in terrorism.”

The state Republican Party also sought to make an issue of the contributions. Last weekend, the party launched a telephone campaign to voters, telling them that the First Lady accepted a plaque and money from an Arab organization–a reference to the American Muslim Alliance–that “openly brags about its support for a Mideast terrorism group, the same kind of terrorism that killed our sailors on the USS Cole.”

Dan McLagan, a spokesman for Mr. Lazio, dismissed the significance of the letter. “I think Joe Lockhart got one of our mail solicitations once,” Mr. McLagan said, referring to the former White House spokesman. “If you subscribe to virtually any modestly well-read magazine, you have pretty good odds of getting a fund raising solicitation. We send out millions of letters…We haven’t taken any money from this guy.”

Here is the full text of the letter:

Dear Mr. Khan,

In addition to being Chief Executive of the United States and the Commander in Chief of our armed forces, President Bill Clinton has taken on extra duties in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign as:

De facto campaign manager

Number one fund raiser

Chief adviser

Senior strategist

Head speech writer

Debate prep coach

Polling analyst

Scheduler

Opposition basher

Mr. Khan, for all I know, he may also be the check-in clerk for Hillary’s major donor reward program at the Lincoln Bedroom and Camp David.

President Clinton has conducted over two dozen private fund raisers for his wife…from one end of the country to the other, reeling in more than $5 million.

Will you help me compete against “the power of the Presidency” by returning your election-winning, Clinton-defeating gift of $30 or $60 today?

There are only five days left until Election Day.

Mrs. Clinton and I are neck-and-neck in the polls.

You can bet President Clinton will ratchet up his time and attention to his wife’s opportunistic United States Senate bid.

While he plays down his role in Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, press reports have shown just how involved he really is.

Not only am I facing the full force and fury of Washington’s Liberal Establishment and Hollywood’s Richest Celebrities…

I’m also up against the power and intimidation of the Office of the Presidency where Bill Clinton has virtually turned the Oval Office into his wife’s campaign headquarters and the Lincoln Bedroom into the slumber party suite for big donors.

That’s why I need your immediate financial help.

Heading into the final pivotal days of the race, we can’t afford to run out of ammunition when the fiercest fighting hits.

For our TV commercials, radio spots, newspaper ads, and targeted mail, we must raise $1,250,000.

Will you help me again?

With your prompt and generous support, we will compete against the power of the Presidency, we will fight for every last vote, and we will defeat Mrs. Clinton on Election Day.

I’m grateful for your commitment to our victory.

Sincerely,

Rick Lazio

P.S. I may not have the President of the United States in my corner but that’s OK, I’d rather have you! My wife Pat and I appreciate all you’ve done to help me. We’re confident about our victory if we can overcome the Clinton’s abuse of the public trust and shameless fund raising.