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One U.S. lawmaker’s call for American schools to mirror the Islamic madrassa system has brought him under media scrutiny, yet the expansion of his campaign war-chest continues unabated – a development helped by cash from individuals that include a high-ranking law-enforcement appointee of Barack Obama as well as powerful financial and industrial groups.
According to Federal Election Commission quarterly filings submitted this week, U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, D-Ind., appears well-positioned, at least financially, to fend off Republican challenger Carlos May in November.
May, who is director of the Indianapolis Mayor’s Office for Latino Affairs, has about $16,000 and $46,000 in his Carlos May 2012 and Carlos May for Congress accounts, respectively; however, following a $206,000 infusion during the most recent period ending June 30, Carson’s total receipts for the 2011-2012 election cycle jumped to $778,000.
Even with $531,000 in reported expenditures, Carson still has $490,000 in campaign cash remaining.
Kerry J. Forestal, whom Obama in 2010 had appointed U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Indiana, incrementally helped the Carson campaign. Indeed, aside from a $1,000 donation to the Keep Indiana Blue PAC in 2009, FEC records show that Forestal has not donated to any other federal election campaign but Carson’s.
Forestal on Feb. 4, 2008, for example, gave $1,000 to Andre Carson for Congress, helping him defeat Republican John Elrod one month later in a special election and making Carson one of the only two Muslims serving in Congress at the time.
Carson beat Republican Marvin Scott that November, securing the congressional seat that Julia Carson – Andre’s grandmother – held for over a decade. Scott’s bid for Congress reportedly had faltered after his campaign manager, Stan Solomon, posted comments on Twitter that offended gays, Muslims, and Catholics.
Forestal on June 30, 2009 donated another $1,000; Carson won reelection the following year. According to Carson’s current quarterly report, Forestal most recently cut a check for $1,000 on May 7.
One political observer expressed confusion with Forestal joining forces with Carson – and that was while Forestal still was Marion County, Ind., chief deputy sheriff and before Carson made it to Congress.
Abdul Hakim Shabazz, Capitol Watch Blog columnist for ABC’s WRTV6 affiliate, wrote in his Feb. 26, 2008 column, “Although a Marion County sheriff once said there’s no room for politics in public safety, that message was lost on his chief deputy.
“Kerry Forestal and two other high ranking sheriff department officials appear (in full uniform) in political ads for Andre Carson. Forestal is also hosting a fundraiser on St. Patrick’s Day with Carson and Frank Anderson as the featured guests. Forestal is trying to make inroads in the black community as he runs for sheriff.
Other notable individuals who provided a financial boost to the 2008 Carson campaigns include former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, who donated $2,000 in May, and then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who cut a $2,000 check that February.
The Council of American Islamic Relations California PAC is one of several non-industry groups that came forward to support Carson in 2008, giving him $5,000 in August. The Arab American Leadership Council PAC two months later provided him with $2,000.
Other group donors for 2008 included the NEA Fund for Children and Public Education ($10,000, followed by $4,000 in 2010, and $1,000 in 2011), NARAL Pro-Choice America PAC ($6,000), and Moveon.Org PAC ($5,000).
Unions such as American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees People have been even more generous, giving Carson $28,000 over the past five years. The American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education donated $27,500 during that time.
His powerful committee assignments – namely, as member of the House Committee on Financial Services – draw the bulk of contributions from his campaign donors.
Carson also serves on that panel’s Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprise as well as the Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars combined have come to Carson from financial and corporate special interests such as the General Dynamics Corporation PAC, General Electric Company PAC, Duke Energy Corporation PAC, Bank of America Corporation Federal PAC, and dozens of others.
Despite this financial comfort zone, Carson was pressed to respond to the controversy over his madrassa comments, subsequently issuing a press release declaring that no “…particular faith should be the foundation of our public schools…”
Nonetheless, he remains in the spotlight, as WND recently reported, for his connection to the Islamic Society of North America, which was listed by the Muslim Brotherhood as a “likeminded” organization that shares its vision of establishing an Islamic nation.