Galloway to Congress: "You have nothing on me"

Flamboyant British MP George Galloway took it to a Senate subcommittee looking into his ties to the UN oil-for-food scandal today.

WASHINGTON (AP) – British lawmaker George Galloway denounced U.S. senators on their home turf Tuesday, denying accusations that he profited from the U.N. oil-for-food program and accusing them of unfairly tarnishing his name.

Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., questioned Galloway’s honesty and told reporters, “If in fact he lied to this committee, there will have to be consequences.”

Galloway’s appearance was an odd spectacle on Capitol Hill: A legislator from a friendly nation, voluntarily testifying under oath, without immunity, at a combative congressional hearing where neither side showed much pretense of diplomatic niceties.

…Coleman’s subcommittee claimed that Galloway funneled allocations through the Mariam Appeal – a fund he established in 1998 to help a 4-year-old Iraqi girl suffering from leukemia – and received allocations worth 20 million barrels from 2000 to 2003. Coleman also alleged that Galloway was linked to kickbacks to Saddam, saying the Iraqi leader received more than $300,000 in surcharges on allocations involving Galloway.

“You have nothing on me, senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad,” he said.This BBC report report on the aftermath of the hearing, however, indicates that it’s possible that Sen. Coleman (R-MN) and Sen. Levin (D-MI) were playing a bit of rope-a-dope with Galloway:

Asked his reaction to the “unusual” manner of the witness, [Coleman] replied: “I was not offended by what he had to say, it was not relevant.

“The theatre, the dramatics – I was not looking at that. I had one goal and it was to make a record.”

…Senator Levin later said he was “deeply troubled” that Mr Galloway had “ducked the question”Scott Burgess live blogs the hearing, and drops this tidbit:

A committee lawyer is running through the evidence of 4 oil allocations made to Galloway, adding that a “senior Iraqi official” had confirmed, just yesterday, that the supporting documentation (some of which specifically names Galloway as an allocation recipient) was genuine. It’s unfortunate that they’re not naming the official – could it be Tariq Aziz?

While I’d like to believe that there will be “consequences” for Galloway, unless Coleman’s committee can unearth a “smoking gun,” he’ll remain a gadfly lefty hero…

Who am I kidding, even if they provide a “smoking gun” he’ll still be a lefty fav. Countdown to “Glass Jaw Jim” Lampley eruption in 3, 2, 1…

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