In tandem with the earlier posting on the Rep. Gary Ackerman story, the Congressman's office has issued this statement, which puts the meeting between Israeli officials and the firm in which he was invested at about eight years ago.
The text of the statement:
"The New York Daily News has written a story that attempts to create false impressions about my personal finances and my public activities as a member of Congress. In point of fact, this story deals with matters that I have repeatedly, personally disclosed in House financial disclosure filings. However, in today’s climate, where headlines are remembered and facts are left behind, I want to make sure the facts are known:
"1. On March 12, 2002, as I disclosed then in public House financial reports, I took out a ($14,000) loan with interest, from Sig Zises, a friend of over 25 years, publicly disclosed it and paid it off with proper interest on 12/12/04. This loan was the subject of a written note. I used the proceeds of the loan to purchase an interest in Sig’s investment in Xenonics at the same price he paid for the stock and when there was no public price for the stock. Between 2005 and 2007, I sold my interest at its fair market value, earning a profit as others who sold the stock did. I fully disclosed these transactions and paid taxes on any profits.
"2. On a separate matter, eight years or so ago, I arranged a meeting in which I introduced representatives of Israel to Xenonics’ because I believed that the technology used by the company for night vision lighting could contribute to Israel’s national defense, and could save Israeli lives as it was already being used to save American lives in Afghanistan.
"I did no more than arrange an introduction so the parties could decide on the merits whether the product fit their needs and sale capabilities. I understand that no business was ever done between the Israel and Xenonics as result of that meeting or at any other time. I did nothing else in this matter – not another meeting, not another conversation, not seeking an earmark, not helping with any grant. Ever."