According to an Associated Press article this weekend
, Jim Moran, a
congressman from Virginia, was banned from entering Russia
supposedly for a series of financial misdeeds. These supposed
misdeeds, as delineated in Moran's
, include ethics and ethics-related criminal
allegations that have been dismissed by the House Ethics Committee,
the Virginia Attorney General, and the Federal Elections Commission.
Allegations of insider trading based on a 2008 briefing by the
Treasury Secretary and Federal Reserve chair do not appear to have
been investigated. There is no reason to believe that there was any particular wrongdoing by any of these bodies or offices; in fact, at least one of the allegations would not be illegal but, if true, would instead be an example of common, institutional corruption.
This might be the first time an American politician has been
sanctioned by a foreign country for ethics violations (with or without a hearing). However, it
is believed that the real reason for the ban, besides simply a
tit-for-tat response to an American entry ban on certain Russians, was Moran's
sponsorship of an amendment prohibiting the U.S. purchase of helicopters
from a Russian state arms dealer that is alleged to have supplied
the Assad regime in Syria.