- The Washington Times - Friday, March 8, 2013

Of all the lawmakers President Obama could have chosen to represent the United States at former Venezuela leader Hugo Chavez’s funeral, he picks the one with tainted ties to the nation’s head — Democrat Rep. Greg Meeks.

In 2006, Mr. Meeks was allegedly asked by one of his donors — Allen Stanford, who was indicted for a Ponzi scheme — to meet with Mr. Chavez, the Hill reports. Mr. Stanford, the allegations continue, wanted a criminal probe of a Venezuelan banker, named Gonzalo Tirado. A year after that meeting, Mr. Tirado was charged with tax evasion and theft, the Hill reports.

Mr. Meeks explained the meeting with Mr. Chavez as a thank-you for oil he gave low-income Americans, the Hill said.


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On Thursday, Mr. Meeks announced he was selected as a U.S. delegate to the funeral.

“I am honored to be a part of a delegation that will represent the United States at the Funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Friday, March 8,” Mr. Meeks said. “My deepest sympathies go out to the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela. Venezuela is an important nation to the Western Hemisphere. I remain committed to building the relationship between our nations. As always, I stand in continued support of the Venezuelan people especially at this time of mourning.”

Former Mass. Rep. Bill Delahunt will also attend the funeral, according to the Hill.