For months, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) has been one of the few prominent voices in the U.S. calling for dialogue and understanding with Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad — even calling into doubt Assad’s use of chemical weapons. Now, we have a better idea why.
Kucinich, currently running for Ohio governor, has revealed that he received $20,000 from “a group sympathetic to the Syrian government,” Cleveland.com reported Tuesday. New ethics filings show that the Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, a group tied to the pro-Assad Syria Solidarity Movement, paid Kucinich for 2017 speeches.
2. That Kucinich was getting paid by a pro-Syrian group is least surprising news of the day. In an interview last year with @PeteHegseth, Kucinich said:
– No evidence Assad launched chem attack
– Attack could have come from ground
– No evidence Assad ever used chem weapons pic.twitter.com/LJO3SPEZZK
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) April 17, 2018
The Syria Solidarity Movement’s website is saturated in pro-Assad — and pro-Russia — conspiracies, with posts blaming “corporate media propaganda against Syria,” and describing claims of Russian interference efforts in the U.S. as “completely unproven.” The group also blamed recent chemical attacks on anti-Assad forces, and has a habit of reposting material from Russian propaganda sites.
While Kucinich has so far refrained from commenting on the payments, the revelations follow a 2017 trip to Syria in which Kucinich met Assad. Following that trip, per Cleveland.com, Kucinich claimed that Assad was “trying to keep a pluralistic society alive.”
Kucinich later told BuzzFeed that he avoided asking Assad about the Syrian government’s usage of chemical weapons because “at this point, that had been raised in the past.”
Kucinich isn’t the only prominent U.S. politico to defend Assad and Russia over the past year, with Jill Stein and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) likewise generating significant criticism for their decisions. However, Kucinich would appear to be the first major American politician who actually received tens of thousands of dollars for his efforts — all while campaigning to return to the political spotlight in Ohio.