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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is so self-serving that he accepted apparently illegal payments for speeches supporting an Iranian-dissident organization that the State Department has listed as a terrorist group since 1997.

The Treasury Department has subpoenaed records related to payments that Mr. Rendell admits taking in exchange for advocating removal of the People's Mujahedeen of Iraq, aka Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), from State's terror-group list.

He denies wrongdoing and says he and his agent are cooperating. Yet a Treasury spokesman told The Washington Times that "U.S. persons are generally prohibited from engaging in transactions with or providing services to this group."

Democrat Rendell and others among the MEK's bipartisan supporters say the group has been nonviolent for two decades and considers Iran its enemy. He has a First Amendment right to advocate on its behalf but "it is a crime to engage in any transaction, which would certainly include getting paid to do public relations for them," according to Georgetown University Law Center professor David Cole.

Treasury must pursue this matter fully and thoroughly. And Rendell must be subject to the legal consequences that anyone on a terror group's payroll rightly faces.

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