Gephardt to Serve as Foreign Agent for Turkey

WASHINGTON–Former US House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt, who recently closed a major deal to serve as a foreign agent for the Turkish government, has already begun lobbying on behalf of his new client against the very same Armenian Genocide Resolution that he once vigorously supported while a Member of Congress, reported the Armenian National Committee of America. Gephardt’s sharp departure from his principled stand for Armenian Genocide recognition was highlighted this week in a Dear Colleague letter circulated to all Members of Congress by Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ), the Co-Chairman of the Armenian Caucus, Adam Schiff (D-CA), the lead sponsor of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), the only Armenian American serving in the U.S. Congress. In their letter, they wrote: "Former Majority Leader Dick Gephardt (D-MO) is now employed by the Turkish government to dissuade Members of Congress from supporting H.Res.106, the Armenian Genocide Resolution. But in 2000, as a Member of Congress, he wrote to Speaker Hastert urging immediate floor consideration of the Armenian Genocide Resolution, claiming ‘this issue requires little if any additional deliberation by the House.’"Armenian Americans appreciate Representatives Eshoo, Schiff and Pallone alerting their colleagues that the same Dick Gephardt who is now on the Turkish government’s payroll was – during his long tenure as an elected official – a principled supporter of the Armenian Genocide Resolution," said Aram Hamparian, ANCA Executive Director. "We are all saddened by the spectacle of Dick Gephardt – for the price of a lobbying contract – publicly compromising his own integrity and, even worse, seeking to prevent a broad, bipartisan Congressional majority from voting on this long overdue human rights legislation in order to appease Turkish threats." As noted in the Dear Colleague letter, in September of 2000, Gephardt had joined with Sam Gejdensen, the Ranking Democrat on the International Relations Committee, and Frank Pallone in urging the Speaker at the time, Dennis Hastert (R-IL), to schedule an "immediate" vote on the Armenian Genocide Resolution. The three legislators stressed that, "Armenian Americans communities throughout the nation have waited long enough for Congress to recognize the horrible genocide endured by many of their predecessors." As a member of the House, Gephardt cosponsored legislation recognizing the Armenian Genocide, as recently as H.Res.193 in 2003, and dating all the way back to H.J.Res.192, more than 20 years ago, during the 99th Congress. In 1998, he offered remarks at the ANCA Armenian Genocide Observance on Capitol Hill.

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