Lawmakers question Census lease tied to mosque

By Carol Morello and Ed O’Keefe
Two Republican lawmakers are raising questions about the U.S. Census Bureau’s decision to lease
space in an office building owned by a Falls Church mosque.

Sen. Susan Collins of Maine and Rep. Darrell Issa of California each sent letters this week to the General Services Administration asking for
details about a two-year lease for an office on the second floor of a
building on Edsall Road in Alexandria. The building is owned by the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center, one of
the largest traditional Muslim congregations on the East Coast.

The lease has been criticized by many conservative bloggers since a story about it appeared last week on a
web site run by Steven Emerson
, a controversial
terrorism expert. The blogosphere’s reaction prompted Collins and Issa
to inquire if taxpayer funds were helping to finance an organization
with ties to terrorists, according to their aides. They also sought
clarification on how GSA vets potential government contractors.

GSA maintains a list of companies excluded from government contracts
due to factors like past performance, according to spokeswoman Sahar

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