Aiham Alsammarae, an Iraqi-American who considered the Chicago area home for 27 years until 2003, escaped his Baghdad Green Zone jail Sunday in an effort to avoid facing prosecution on corruption charges.
After escaping, Alsammarae, in telephone interviews with U.S. newspaper correspondents, taunted Iraqi authorities, said he was fleeing death threats in Iraq, and claimed he had already left the country.
Campaign contribution records show Alsammarae donated $1,000 to the Bush campaign in 1999 and, after being appointed by U.S. Iraq administrator Paul Bremer as Iraq's electricity minister in August 2003, donated $250 to the Bush campaign in April 2004.
Also while serving as Iraq's minister of electricity, he donated $1,500 to the U.S. Republican National Committee and $250 to the Illinois Republican Party.
Prior to his appointment as an Iraqi government minister, and separate from his Bush presidential campaign and RNC contributions, Alsammarae donated nearly $5,000 to the Illinois Republican party and to Republican U.S. senate candidates.
After being appointed by Bremer in 2003, Alsammarae stayed on as the electricity minister in the government of Iraqi prime minister Iyad Allawi until May 2005.
Alsammarae and the Iraqi minister of public works met President Bush at the White House September 22, 2003.
Alsammarae was arrested on corruption charges this August and in October was convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. That verdict was overturned last week, but he faced further corruption charges when he fled jail.