Campaign funds: A short story

What if you were accused of terrorism while giving charity? This is the dilemma of sending money overseas.

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“I am led to believe Mr. Wissem, you were not aware of any monies during the course of Mr. Campbell campaign?”

Wissem nodded. Judge Joras’s stern gaze did not die.

“Yes” Wissem said.

“And my profile here indicates, you were, in fact at a point in time, directly involved with the finances of Mr. Campbell’s campaign and at an earlier time, chief strategist for his failed bid at the seat of late Senate member Mr. Donald Pape?

Wissem shifted uncomfortably in his seat. His eyes quickly flashed to his lawyer- Jason – who responded to his glance with a curt nod.

“Yes, I was. Though the information has a minor discrepancy.”

“Which is?”

“I was the senior economics strategist. The chief strategist was Dr. Ruthal Brown.”

“The difference being?”

“My position focused primarily on theory. I did not handle monetary concerns.”

“We will, of course, verify this information. I hope you are aware of that Mr. Wissem.”

“Yes.” Wissem felt Jason’s unrelenting stare piercing his neck as beads of sweat rolled down his forehead.

“I see. Court adjourned. We will resume when Mr. Wissem agrees to give us more useful information.” And with that, the Judge made his way out of the room through a back door.

——————————————————-

“What I tell you? Sending money to the Middle east? Really? Wissem you are a goddam fool.” Jason slapped Wissem in the neck and sat himself down in the lobby.

“First of all, Pakistan is not in the middle east. Now I get Senator Campbell involved in all of this. Surely you would think common sense would prevail.” said Wissem.

“Common sense? Ha. No such thing here. Cases are won with lies and more lies. Telling the truth makes you guilty, even if you are innocent. There is big money on the line in this kind of charge. We’re talking about an advisor to a former senator aiding a terrorist organization. The Action Party is out to get you. If they put you behind bars it’s two birds with one stone. The Senator and his pet.”

“Some system huh?”

“Some system.”

The two men sat in silence, deep in thought about the day to come and the many lies they would have to tell to conceal a harmless truth. Wissem had indeed provided funds to a mosque in Pakistan, but from his own income. There was no harm done, except the same mosque was blown to bits in a drone strike last week. But as soon as he’d admit to the allegation, Senator Campbell’s upcoming run would be ripped apart. Oh, and there was a slight possibility he would be in federal custody for life.

So it is true thought Wissam, the truth makes you a prisoner.

————————————————————-

“Did you sir, at no point in time, notice the $3000 missing from Senator Campbell’s funds?” questioned the attorney.

“Sir, I think I made myself clear, I was not involved in any financial matters during his campaign and they were not ‘Senator Campbell’s funds’!”

“Then I wonder why you are being charged with aiding a terrorist group using campaign funds!”

“Sir, my BANK ACCOUNT does not fund Senator Campbell’s campaign! Also I think I can do what ever the hell I want with my mone-”

Wissem felt a strong hand gripping his right shoulder. It was Jason signalling him to shut up.

“Objection!” cried Jason “My client is innocent until proven guilty. There is also no evidence to suggest the Al-Hayat Mosque in Pakistan was in anyway involved in terrorist activities!”

Haris Booling, grinned at Wissem. Apparently he was representing the state of New Jersey, or the Action Party, or the Party for National Stability, no one really seemed to know who was charging Mr. Wissem and for what reason.

“Objection sustained. Mr. Booling you may take a seat. This Q/A has gone on a little too long.” said the judge.

Booling deftly turned away from Wissem and made his way back to his chair.

“And I would like to ask Mr. Booling, what was it about my client that aroused suspicion? Why not pick on Dr. Ruthal Brown, the man who actually dabbled in the monetary concerns of Mr. Campbells campaign?” began Jason. He turned towards the jury and expressed his annoyance.

“Is it because he was the only muslim member of Mr. Campbells staff?”

“Bologna Mr. Abel, Mr. Wissem deposited $3000 into his account a month before the strike. Now it’s all gone. $3000, as our intel suggests, was the entire monetary funding for Al-Hayat for the month of November.”

“Anybody in the United States could have funded them. I fail to see your point.”

Booling grew red.

“Mr. Jason, you know as well as I do that advisor to public officials are paid with a secure pin at a designated bank. The deposit to Al-Hayat, as far as the intel tells us, was tracked to an official working with the Campbell Campaign.”

“And I’m guessing your Intel was ‘look for anyone that is muslim and brown’?'”

“Objection!” cried Booling.

The Judge frowned. “Mr. Booling it’s called sarcasm. Please continue.” he said languidly.

“Mr. Wissem had transferred large sums of money to Pakistan in the past year.” complained Booling.

“It’s called – ” Jason began.

“-Charity! I was giving money to Helping Hand and Muslims for Humanity. I’m being charged with – ” Jason squeezed his hand and Wissem shut his mouth, embarrassed.

Booling rolled his eyes as the judge demanded order in the court. A witness testifying for Wissem came forward.

“You are claiming that Mr. Wissem helped you pay your mortgage a month ago? Do you have documents?”

The man nodded and handed Booling a sheet of paper which, thereafter, the judge requested.

Booling seemed lost and confused. If Wissem had used the $3000 for this reason, he could not have possibly sent it overseas.

“Dear judge, I would look at those documents with a suspicious-” he began but the Judge had already made up his mind.

“This Kangaroo farce had gone on for too long. Court is adjourned. Jury, make your decision, fast.” With an annoyed look at Booling, the judge walked off.

——————————————————————

“How much did you pay that guy?”

“About a $1000. I assured him he would not be going to jail. He just had to keep his mouth shut.”

“The papers?”

“Dude, I worked in real estate before,” Jason said. “I know how things work.”

“Well it worked.”

“Don’t get cocky. I can’t save your ass the next time.”

“How ironic can this get? Really?”

“What?”

“Here I am bribing a random stranger to lie in court to prove that I wasn’t giving charity to a religious institution in need.”

“But you were.”

“I was.”

“A good and a bad. I guess you break even.” said Jason with a grin.

 

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