While Pat Robertson has resigned as President from the Christian Coalition, his influence continues to be far-reaching and his activities questionable. Among Robertson’s projects is a plan to open an oil refinery in a low-income neighborhood outside of Los Angeles, despite opposition from local community groups who claimed that the plant, forced to close because of environmental concerns, “belched smoke so noxious it peeled the paint off cars.” Most disturbing, however, is Robertson’s partnership with Charles Taylor, Liberian dictator, through Robertson’s for-profit company Freedom Gold.
After establishing Freedom Gold in 1998, Robertson signed a deal with Taylor giving Liberia 10 percent of the company’s profits. While Robertson claims that the money directly benefits Liberia, Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King doubts that Liberians ever see any of the funds, noting that Liberia has been described as “Charles Taylor Inc.” Taylor is also known to have connections with the Revolutionary United Front (RUF), a rebel group in Sierra Leone that has committed egregious crimes against humanity, and to be involved in the trade of illegal diamonds. The trade of these so-called blood diamonds has raised millions of dollars for known terrorist groups, including Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network. These connections led write Ryan Lizza to observe that, “It is entirely possible that money washes from one enterprise into the other. For as much as Robertson might like to pretend that any profits Taylor accrues from the Freedom Gold paertnership are being used to buy Bibles for Liberian children, the truth is that Taylor’s top fiscal priority is arming the RUF and maintaining control of Sierra Leone’s diamonds – the same diamonds whose sale funds al Qaeda.”
Still, Robertson denies any wrongdoing and points out that he has never even met Charles Taylor. Their business deal stands, though, and according to Colbert King, Robertson and Taylor missed their meeting because of a State Department warning to Robertson not to travel to Liberia.