REMEMBER ABDUL TAWALA IBN ALI ALISHTARI?…. Long-time readers may recall a 2007 controversy in which a generous Republican donor faced federal terrorism charges, but the National Republican Congressional Committee wanted to keep his campaign contributions.

The suspect pleaded guilty yesterday, to a wide variety of ugly charges.

A New York businessman accused of trying to funnel money to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of terrorism financing and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Abdul Tawala Ibn Ali Alishtari entered his plea before a federal judge in Manhattan. He could face up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Alishtari, 56, of suburban Ardsley, had been accused of accepting an unspecified amount of money to transfer $152,000 that he believed was being sent to Pakistan and Afghanistan to support the camp. Prosecutors say Alishtari, also known as Michael Mixon, believed the money would be used to buy night vision goggles and other equipment.

He also pleaded guilty to stealing millions of dollars from victims through his fraudulent operation of a loan investment program.

Alishtari has also been a generous Republican donor, contributing more than $15,000 in the ’02 and ’04 cycles to the National Republican Congressional Committee, and having been named to the National Republican Senatorial Committee’s “Inner Circle Leadership Committee.”

When Alishtari was first arrested in 2007, the NRSC decided to donate the total of Alishtari’s contributions to charity. Good move. NRCC officials, meanwhile, acknowledged that they took money from an accused terrorist financier, but decided they wanted to keep the money. Even far-right bloggers said, at the time, that this was a very bad idea.

That was two years ago. Maybe now the House Republican campaign committee will dump the $15,000? Apparently, not quite yet. The AP report noted today that an NRCC spokesperson “has said the committee will donate the money to charity if Alishtari is convicted.”

The guilty plea to terrorism charges isn’t enough?

I wonder, if the situation was reversed, and Alishtari were a DCCC donor, whether this would be a bigger story. Something tells me Fox News might run a story or two about the Dems and their terrorist-financier friend.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.