Secretary LaHood’s son on no-fly list in Egypt

BEIRUT, Lebanon — Egyptian authorities have banned US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood’s son, Sam LaHood, from boarding a plane departing Egypt, Politico reported.

Secretary LaHood, a Republican member of President Obama’s cabinet, is a former congressman from Illinois. He is half Lebanese and half German.

Sam LaHood, his son, works for the International Republican Institute, “a nongovernmental organization with close ties to GOP congressional leadership,” Politico reported.

IRI was one of the organizations targeted in the December 29, 2011 raid conducted by Egyptian police. Egypt’s ruling military council, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, or SCAF, has been criticized in recent weeks for a crackdown on nongovernmental organizations.

More from GlobalPost: US-based non-profits raided by Egyptian forces 

On January 3, US State Department spokeswoman Victorian Nuland said that Egypt's crackdown on NGOs is "unacceptable," and criticized SCAF for raising the specter of foreign funding, saying it was "a very aggressive propaganda effort to scare the Egyptian people."

More from GlobalPost: US NGO crisis in Egypt deepens

Controversially, the Egyptian government has been employing Washington-based lobbyists, including some with ties to the Obama administration, to provide cover for its NGO raid, Politico reported:

A lobbyist working for the Livingston Group immediately circulated talking points — which some Capitol Hill insiders suspect were drafted by Egyptian officials in Washington — claiming that the IRI and NDI were operating outside Egyptian law. These lobbyists vehemently opposed any calls for cuts in U.S. aid to Egypt. The United States gives Egypt roughly $2 billion per year in aid, mainly as military assistance.

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