Right Web

Tracking militarists’ efforts to influence U.S. foreign policy

NORPAC Helps House Hawk Attack Iran Deal

LobeLog

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) is leading the charge in the House of Representatives to derail the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) signed between the P5+1 and Iran to limit the country’s nuclear program in exchange for relief from nuclear-related sanctions. Royce may have a powerful financial incentive, in the form of tens of thousands of dollars in bundled campaign contributions from a group aligned with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). This money would enable him to continue in his role as the House’s leading Iran hawk. Royce’s biggest campaign donor in the current and previous election cycle is NORPAC, a political action committee aligned with AIPAC, which led efforts to kill the nuclear accord.

Yesterday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, chaired by Royce, approved the “Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act,” setting up the first of a series of expected showdowns over attempts to limit the White House’s ability to lift sanctions on Iran.

The legislation would give Congress greater oversight over the rolling back of sanctions. According to administration officials, the bill is an attempt to derail the JCPOA after opponents of the agreement, most of whom were Republican, failed to muster enough votes to block the agreement last year.

Even Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and one of a handful of Democrats who opposed the nuclear agreement, opposed the new legislation, saying, “I believe it doesn’t serve any purpose to have bills like this that are designed to kill the deal.”

The rhetoric from Royce, on the other hand, has only gotten more heated. During a Tuesday appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, he blamed Obama for the recent deterioration in relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran after the Saudis started the year by executing Shiite leader Sheik Nimr Baqr al-Nimr. “They perceive we have tilted toward Iran and this has created problems in terms of our credibility in the region,” said Royce, who repeated the GOP refrain that the Obama administration is “leading from behind.”

Royce may believe that new legislation designed to constrain the White House’s ability to hold up its obligations under the JCPOA would improve regional stability. But he also has a valuable financial incentive to attack the Obama administration’s Iran diplomacy.

NORPAC directed $48,150 to Royce’s campaign committee in the 2014 election cycle (his second biggest donor, General Atomics, contributed $17,800) and $27,588 in the 2016 cycle (his second biggest donor, RIDA Development, contributed $13,500), according to data published by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.

The bundled campaign contributions might be a drop in the bucket for the AIPAC aligned group—AIPAC reportedly spent nearly $30 million fighting the nuclear deal—but it establishes NORPAC as Royce’s most valuable fundraising ally.

Royce is NORPAC’s biggest recipient of campaign contributions in the House during the 2016 cycle. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is the group’s biggest overall recipient in the cycle.

NORPAC’s campaign contributions to Royce might seem generous considering the House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman won his 2014 midterm election by more than 30 points. But Royce certainly isn’t turning down NORPAC’s overtures. The group held a fundraiser last month for Royce in Teaneck, NJ, praising the congressman’s role as a “leading voice on Iran sanctions.”

Royce is scheduled to elaborate on his views about the Obama administration’s foreign policy in an event today at the American Enterprise Institute, the locale from which “experts” such as Richard Perle, Michael LedeenReuel Marc GerechtNewt GingrichCharles Krauthammer, and Ahmed Chalabi made their case for de-Baathification in Iraq in the months leading up to the 2003 invasion.

Royce probably won’t touch on the foreign policy disasters hatched at AEI, or their role in setting the stage for the rise of the Islamic State, just as he probably doesn’t remind his allies at AIPAC that the group pushed for regime change in Iraq. Instead, according to the announcement, he will discuss “how the Islamic State and al-Qaeda can be defeated” and “the importance of American leadership to defend and advance freedom, security, and free markets both at home and abroad.”

Share RightWeb

Featured Profiles

The brainchild of Sears-Roebuck heiress Nina Rosenwald, the Gatestone Institute is a New York-based advocacy organization formerly chaired by John Bolton that is notorious for spreading misinformation about Muslims and advocating extremely hawkish views on everything from Middle East policy to immigration.


Conrad Black is a former media mogul closely connected to rightist political factions in the United States who was convicted in July 2007 for fraud and obstruction of justice and later pardoned by his friend President Trump.


David Friedman is U.S. Ambassador to Israel under Donald Trump. He is known for his extreme views on Israel, which include opposition to the creation of a Palestinian state and support for Israeli settlements.


Jason Greenblatt is the Special Representative for International Negotiations for President Donald Trump primarily working on the Israel-Palestine conflict.


The neoconservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies has re-established itself as a primary driver of hawkish foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, during the Trump administration.


Rupert Murdoch is the head of News Corp, the parent company of Fox News, and a long-time supporter of neoconservative campaigns to influence U.S. foreign policy.


Shmuley Boteach is a “celebrity rabbi” known for his controversial “pro-Israel” advocacy.


For media inquiries,
email rightwebproject@gmail.com

From the Wires

A series of escalations in both word and deed have raised fears of U.S.-Iranian military confrontation, either direct or by proxy. It is urgent that cooler heads prevail – in European capitals as in Tehran and Washington – to head off the threat of a disastrous war.


Vladimir Putin excels at taking advantage of mistakes made by Russia’s adversaries to further his country’s interests. Donald Trump’s Iran policy has given Putin plenty of opportunity to do that.


The Trump administration’s claims about purported Iranian threats have been repeated by credulous reporters and TV news programs far and wide.


This is the cartoon that the international edition of the New York Times should have run, at least as regards U.S. policy toward Iran.


The assault on Tripoli by Khalifa Haftar, Libya’s renegade general and leader of the self-anointed Libyan National Army (LNA), has forced an indefinite postponement of key UN peace efforts in the country even as the Trump White House announced that the president recognized Haftar’s “important” role in fighting terrorists.


With all eyes focused these days on Donald Trump and his myriad crimes, John Bolton’s speeches are a reminder that even worse options are waiting in the wings.


Advocates of cutting U.S. aid to Israel rather than using it as leverage must understand how this aid works, how big a challenge it represents for advocacy, and how to make a potentially successful argument against it.


RightWeb
share