LaHood junior caught in Cairo clampdown

Revolution and ensuing civil unrest in Egypt brought worries in February to a pivotal public sector figure on the North American infrastructure scene.

Sam LaHood, son of Ray LaHood, the prominent Obama administration official and current US Secretary of Transportation, was first banned from leaving Egypt in January when he complained that he had been forbidden from entering an airport in Cairo. Less than a month later the younger LaHood, a director in the Egypt chapter of the International Republican Institute (IRI), was charged as part of a probe into NGOs (non-government organisations) allegedly using foreign money to foment unrest. 

LaHood was one of 43 people charged with providing financing for pro-democracy activity in Egypt. The charge came amid a declaration from the government of the North African country that a crackdown on – and legal prosecution of – anti-establishment sentiment was due. The avowal further strained the already wobbling diplomatic relationship between the US and Egypt.

The IRI was bolstered in late 2011 when a populist uprising led to the ousting of longstanding President Hosni Mubarak and the subsequent potential for a democratic electoral process. But in December, law enforcement officials raided the IRI office.

Illinois native Sam LaHood, 36, is the third child of Ray LaHood, 66, the sole Republican cabinet member in the White House and a respected thought-leader on transportation.