TAMPA, Fla. - A lawsuit filed in Central Florida has triggered accusations that the government of Qatar is recruiting American politicians to serve its interests.
These accusations stem from the case of Pasco County resident Matthew Pittard, who levels some strong accusations. He worked for the brother of the emir of Qatar, whom Pittard claims was an abusive boss.
While the litigation proceeds in a Florida court, Pittard’s attorney, Rebecca Castaneda, deposed others who had interactions with the emir’s brother and Qatari officials. One of them, Canadian businessman Alan Bender, claimed senior Qatari officials asked him to recruit Americans who they could help finance into elective office, who in turn could serve the political interests of Qatar.
Bender claimed Qatari officials said they already have one such asset, U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
In the deposition, Bender claimed three Qatari officials told him they “recruited Ilhan Omar from even way before she thought about becoming a government official.…They groomed her and arranged the foundation, the grounds, for her to get into politics way before she even showed interest. They convinced her.”
Once Omar was elected, Bender claims the Qatari officials told him Omar used her position to obtain sensitive information from the U.S. to transmit it to Qatar, which was then transmitted to Iran.
These accusations have not been verified and have only been presented by one man.
The office of Rep. Omar responded by calling the accusations false and “outlandishly absurd.”