COLUMBIA, Mo. – The two Republican candidates for attorney general feud over ties to foreign powers continued Friday as Sen. Kurt Schaefer defended an ad from his campaign that ties University of Missouri law professor Josh Hawley to a former Iranian terrorist group.
The Schaefer for Attorney General campaign responded Friday to threats from a Washington, DC law firm acting on behalf of the People’s Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI) demanding removal of a Schaefer television ad highlighting Professor Josh Hawley’s work for the group while it was designated as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization.”
Schaefer’s campaign manager Scott Dieckhaus said that those rushing to the defense of Hawley were doing so to protect a terrorist organization.
“Professor Hawley’s Iranian clients are now desperately attacking Kurt Schaefer with the same DC-insider lawyer Hawley partnered with to remove them from the terrorist list,” Dieckhaus said. “Kurt Schaefer has spent his legal career keeping Missouri families safe, while Hawley has proven time and again he severely lacks the judgment to serve as Missouri’s top law enforcement officer.”
Hawley was one of six lawyers who worked to help the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI) become officially declassified as a terrorist organization, a title the U.S. State Department gave it in 1997 in part for its killing of Americans in the early 1970s. After the Iranian Revolution, the group began to oppose the current Iranian regime and were one of the groups to expose Iran’s nuclear program.
In Sept. 2012, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton removed their designation as a terrorist organization after a concerted legal effort, in part for their renunciation of violence and closing a paramilitary base they had in Iraq. Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey have since defended Hawley, and multiple other D.C. officials from the Bush and Obama administrations have said that the organization opposes Iran’s government.
However, Bolton and Mukasey have also lobbied for the organization with favorable views to the PMOI.
However, the battle over foreign enemies influencing the Show-Me State’s AG primary has had multiple facets. This week, an anti-Schaefer super PAC released an ad alleging that Schaefer used his power as a state senator to benefit Chinese agricultural companies.