Birds of a feather. Disgraceful.

(ABC News) — The family that has ruled the African nation of Gabon for decades has been accused of taking bribes, stealing hundreds of millions of dollars, and presiding over a system rife with corruption, but that hasn’t stopped President Obama from inviting President Ali Bongo of Gabon to the White House Thursday.

White House press secretary Jay Carney conceded to ABC News Wednesday that President Bongo has a “less than sterling” record, but said that it was “very important” for President Obama to grant Bongo the coveted Oval Office meeting anyway.

“First of all, the president of Gabon is making reform efforts, which we support,” said Carney. “Secondly . . . Gabon has been an important partner in some of the issues that are very important to American national security.”

Jack Blum, a United Nations consultant and expert on offshore banking, said that the invitation sends a disturbing message. Blum estimates that in years past the Bongo family and its cronies have “siphon[ed] off 25 percent of the gross domestic product of the country. And it’s made them incredibly rich.”

“There’s absolutely no shame,” said Blum. “I would say that the people who are running the country are guilty of grand theft nation.”

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