US

Congressman calls for investigation into Obama’s secretly-planned meeting with Albanian socialist

Patrick Howley Political Reporter

California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is calling for a “full investigation” into President Obama’s meeting with Albanian Socialist leader Edi Rama at a San Francisco fundraiser last year.

As The Daily Caller first reported, Albanian Socialist leaders secretly arranged the meeting by compelling an Albanian resident of New Jersey to donate $10,000 to the Obama campaign in order to get a picture with the president and Rama.

Rohrabacher believes that Albanian Socialist leaders may have engaged in a “conspiracy to circumvent U.S. election laws” by compelling the donation.

Rohrabacher, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee responsible for overseeing Europe, Eurasia, and emerging threats, sent letters this week to Attorney General Eric Holder and Federal Election Commission chairperson Ellen Weintraub requesting a “full investigation” into the matter.

“Edi Rama, the Socialist party candidate for prime minister of Albania, has been heavily promoting a photo of himself with President Barack Obama in the hope it will help him win the June 23 elections. The issue is that the photo may have been arranged with the help of a large campaign contribution allegedly made by an Albanian resident of New Jersey,” Rohrabacher wrote to Holder.

Albanian politician Dritan Prifti, who was then a member of the Socialist Party, arranged for Rama to attend the $40,000-a-head San Francisco fundraiser with Obama on the night of Oct. 8, 2012, an Albanian national told The Daily Caller.

The source, who insisted on anonymity, told TheDC that Prifti compelled a New Jersey-based small limousine company owner named Bilal Shehu to donate $70,000 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012 just days before the fundraiser, and to bring Rama as his personal guest.

Part of this contribution was intended as a $10,000 payment to the Obama campaign for the photograph. Foreign nationals like Prifti and Rama are legally prohibited from directly donating to U.S. political campaigns.

Prifti has since admitted to setting up Rama’s meeting with Obama.

Shehu, who was earning the equivalent of between $5,000 and $8,000 per year as a customs agent in Albania before emmigrating to the United States in 2009, had never before donated to an American political campaign.

“Has there been a conspiracy to circumvent U.S. election laws in this case? Where did the money come from to buy the tickets to the fundraiser? How did [Shehu] get from New Jersey to California to attend the event? What was a prominent foreign politician doing at a fundraising event from which he should have been barred by law. I would request that a full investigation into this issue be made immediately,” Rohrabacher wrote.