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Nonprofit Leader Pleads Guilty to Lying Over 2013 Congressional Trip Funding to Azerbaijan

The former president of a Houston nonprofit pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to lying to the U.S. House Committee on Ethics that a privately sponsored 2013 congressional trip to Azerbaijan was funded by the Azerbaijan government.

Kemal Oksuz, 49, was indicted in 2016, and extradited from police custody in Armenia. He will be sentenced on Feb. 11 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Oksuz, as part of his plea agreement, admitted to lying on disclosure forms submitted to the Ethics Committee.

Ten members of Congress and 35 staffers participated in the trip, including members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Among the representatives who participated in the trip were Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.), and House Foreign Affairs Committee members Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.), Ted Poe (R-Texas) and Steve Stockman (R-Texas).

According to the Houston Chronicle, the all-expenses-paid trip cost the representatives and their staffs $270,000, not including speaker fees for other notable guests, including former Indiana Republican Sen. Richard Lugar.

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James Cullum
Multimedia journalist James Cullum has reported for over a decade to newspapers, magazines and websites in the D.C. metro area. He excels at finding order in chaotic environments, from slave liberations in South Sudan to the halls of the power in Washington, D.C.

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