A former Obama administration trade adviser accused of plotting to purchase $10 million in gold from a Congolese warlord refused to detail his role in the illegal plot, invoking the Fifth Amendment more than 100 times during confidential court testimony, according to documents obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
President Obama tapped oil mogul Kase Lawal, a prolific Democratic bundler and Clinton family confidante, to serve as a member of the White House’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations in 2010. Lawal’s name no longer appears on the website.
Soon after his appointment, court documents allege, Lawal became entangled in a plot to purchase nearly 2,500 pounds of Congolese gold from Gen. Bosco Ntaganda, a rebel commander who has been linked by the International Criminal Court to ethnic massacres and rapes.
The charges raised red flags among D.C. foreign policy observers, who questioned why the White House would associate with such a controversial figure.
Lawal is a prolific donor to both the Democratic National Committee and the Obama campaign, according to public records in which he lists himself as the chairman and CEO of CAMAC International. He donated $35,800 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2011 and $30,800 to the DNC. Additionally, Lawal has donated varying amounts to several Democratic Congressional campaigns.