UPI reported McCain campaign allegations that LA Times is "suppressing a video" of Obama and Khalidi, but not McCain's own reported "connection" to the "Palestinian activist"

››› ››› TOM ALLISON & MORGAN WEILAND

UPI reported Sen. John McCain campaign's allegation that the Los Angeles Times is "suppressing a video of a 2003 banquet showing opponent Barack Obama praising a Palestinian activist," and quoted a McCain spokesman saying the video "could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi" without noting McCain's own reported "connection" to Khalidi.

In an October 29 article, United Press International reported the allegation by Sen. John McCain's campaign that the Los Angeles Times is "suppressing a video of a 2003 banquet showing opponent Barack Obama praising a Palestinian activist," and quoted a McCain campaign spokesman saying the video "could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi." However, the article did not note what ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper described in an October 29 blog post as McCain's "own connection to Khalidi."

Tapper documented that while McCain served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (a position he still holds), the IRI provided "$448,873 in 1998" to the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, which Khalidi co-founded. Tapper noted in an October 29 update to his post that while the "IRI said a grant made to the CPRS in 1999 was later 'de-obligated,' ... [t]he 1998 payment of $448,873 is NOT in dispute." In a subsequent post published October 29, Tapper reported that the IRI released a statement that day "confirming that it gave money to Khalidi's group ... and also trying to distance the organization from Khalidi himself." The Huffington Post's Seth Colter Walls reported on October 28 on the IRI's funding of Khalidi's organization.

Additionally, in an October 29 post to The New York Times' Caucus blog, reporter Elisabeth Bumiller noted that "the Obama campaign swiftly pointed out that Mr. McCain has his own connection to Mr. Khalidi," and cited the IRI's 1998 grant to the CPRS.

From Tapper's updated October 29 blog post:

But McCain has his own connection to Khalidi.

In 1993, McCain became chairman of the International Republican Institute. He still chairs that respected organization.

That same year, Khalidi helped found the Center for Palestine Research and Studies, self-described as "an independent academic research and policy analysis institution" created to meet "the need for active Palestinian scholarship on issues related to Palestine." (Its archived website is HERE.)

Khalidi was on the board of trustees through 1999.

According to tax returns, the McCain-chaired IRI funded the organization Khalidi founded and served on to the tune of $448,873 in 1998 (click HERE to see the tax return)* as first reported by Seth Couter [sic] Walls at HuffPo.

The IRI continued to give money to the CPRS after Khalidi left the group as well.

[...]

* This post has been updated after the IRI said a grant made to the CPRS in 1999 was later "de-obligated." A spokeswoman for the IRI says the organization is going over its books to get further clarification of the funds it gave the organization. The 1998 payment of $448,873 is NOT in dispute. When IRI gets back to us, we will share the information with you.

From Colter Walls' October 28 Huffington Post report:

In regards to Khalidi, however, the guilt-by-association game burns John McCain as well.

During the 1990s, while he served as chairman of the International Republican Institute (IRI), McCain distributed several grants to the Palestinian research center co-founded by Khalidi, including one worth half a million dollars.

A 1998 tax filing for the McCain-led group shows a $448,873 grant to Khalidi's Center for Palestine Research and Studies for work in the West Bank. (See grant number 5180, "West Bank: CPRS" on page 14 of this PDF.)

The relationship extends back as far as 1993, when John McCain joined IRI as chairman in January. Foreign Affairs noted in September of that year that IRI had helped fund several extensive studies in Palestine run by Khalidi's group, including over 30 public opinion polls and a study of "sociopolitical attitudes."

Of course, there's seemingly nothing objectionable with McCain's organization helping a Palestinian group conduct research in the West Bank or Gaza. But it does suggest that McCain could have some of his own explaining to do as he tries to make hay out of Khalidi's ties to Obama.

From Bumiller's October 29 Caucus post:

But the Obama campaign swiftly pointed out that Mr. McCain has his own connection to Mr. Khalidi. According to tax records cited by Mr. Obama's campaign, a foreign policy organization that Mr. McCain chairs, the International Republican Institute, gave more than $850,000 in 1998 and 1999 to a group in part founded by Mr. Khalidi, the Center for Palestine Research and Studies.

From UPI's October 29 article, "McCain criticizes newspaper on Obama tape":

Aides to John McCain charge that the Los Angeles Times is suppressing a video of a 2003 banquet showing opponent Barack Obama praising a Palestinian activist.

The Times countered that its promise to a source bars the newspaper from posting the video that allegedly shows the Democratic presidential nominee praising Palestinian activist Rashid Khalidi at the banquet.

The newspaper reported Wednesday it first wrote about the video in an April article about Obama's ties with Palestinians and Jews while involved in Chicago politics. The report provided a description of the tape.

"A major news organization is intentionally suppressing information that could provide a clearer link between Barack Obama and Rashid Khalidi," said McCain campaign spokesman Michael Goldfarb. "The election is one week away, and it's unfortunate that the press so obviously favors Barack Obama that this campaign must publicly request that the Los Angeles Times do its job -- make information public."

The Times issued a statement Tuesday about its decision not to post the tape online.

"The Los Angeles Times did not publish the videotape because it was provided to us by a confidential source who did so on the condition that we not release it," newspaper Editor Russ Stanton said. "The Times keeps its promises to sources."

The article said Obama's friendships with Palestinian-Americans in Chicago led some to think he was sympathetic to the Palestinian viewpoint. Obama publicly expresses a pro-Israel viewpoint.

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