IRS Checking Form 990 Against Watch Lists

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is screening applications for tax-exempt status for terrorist names, IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson testified at an April 5 Senate Finance Committee hearing on nonprofit accountability and tax compliance. The IRS's counter-terrorism project, focusing on the abuse of charities, is developing an electronic capability to review filed Forms 990 and 990-PF for terrorist names.

read in full

CFC Shifts Position on Terrorist List Checking

In a proposed regulation published in the Federal Register on March 29, the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) shifted its position away from last year's requirement that participating charities check their employee's names against government terrorist watch lists. Instead, the proposed rule uses a certification that charities are in compliance with the law. The proposed rule appears to be a major step in the right direction. Public comments are due in late May.

read in full

CFC Cites Treasury Guidelines to Justify Anti-Terror List Requirement

The Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its requirement that participating charities check employee names against two government terrorist watch lists. The CFC motion claims the Treasury Department's Voluntary Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines as authority and cites activities by private foundations as justification for its actions. These guidelines have been widely criticized and are currently under review by Treasury. The motion provides plaintiffs with partial victory in the suit by stating CFC's intention of conducting a formal rulemaking on the list-checking requirement, giving the public an opportunity to comment. The background information in the motion reveals that the current list-checking rule was developed in a closed process with a coalition representing some of the largest CFC participating charities.

read in full

OPM/Combined Federal Campaign's Motion to Dismiss in ACLU v. OPM

To see the Office of Personnel Management's Motion to Dismiss (in pdf format) the suit against them challenging the Combined Federal Campaign's requirement that participating charities check their employees against terrorist watch lists- click here

read in full

Combined Federal Campaign Anti-Terrorist Certification Requirement

In a positive step for federal anti-terrorist financing policy, the Office of Personnel Management's Combined Federal Campaign (CFC), the federal government's workplace charitable giving program, has finalized a rule change that moves away from its previous requirement that all participating charities check their employees names against government watch lists. Instead, the new CFC rule requires participating charities to certify that they are in compliance with existing anti-terrorist financing laws.

read in full

Treasury Dept. Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines Miss the Mark

Background information regarding the Treasury Dept.'s Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines for Domestic U.S. Charities, and current status of efforts to have them revised.

read in full

Law Symposium Exposes Weaknesses of Anti-Terrorist Guidelines for Nonprofits

A recent Pace Law Review Symposium, “Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: The Impact on International Philanthropy,” highlighted the need for changes in the government guidelines and increased transparency of the reasons behind government decisions to shut down several Muslim charities accused of financing terrorists. The U.S. Treasury Department published the guidelines, which have been widely criticized, in November 2002. Speakers at the symposium said the current situation has lead to a decrease in international philanthropy, inappropriate application of the guidelines, a perception of ethnic discrimination against Muslim organizations and shut down of several charities with no terrorist-related convictions. A Treasury official acknowledged problems and said the department is working with the sector to revise the guidelines. See summary.

read in full

Summary of Presentations at Pace Law Review Symposium on Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines

A Pace Law Review Symposium, "Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: The Impact on International Philanthropy", highlighted the need for changes in the guidelines and increased transparency of the reasons behind government decisions to shut down several Muslim charities accused of financing terrorists. The guidelines were published by the Treasury Department in November, 2002, and have been widely criticized. Speakers at the symposium said the current situation has lead to a decrease in international philanthropy, inappropriate application of the guidelines, a perception of ethnic discrimination against Muslim organizations and shut down of several charities with no terrorist-related convictions. A Treasury official acknowledged probems and said the Department is working with the sector to revise the guidelines. Read more for a summary of the presentations:

read in full

CFC Issues Terror List Check Guidance

After months of silence the Combined Federal Campaign has issued guidance on how charities participating in this workplace-giving program for federal employees should implement its requirement that they certify they do not knowingly employ persons on various government terrorist watch lists. The CFC Memorandum 2004-12 provides background information and clarification, but does not change the interpretation that led a dozen nonprofits to file suit to block the policy.

read in full

Muslim Charity Seeks Release of Frozen Assets

Last month, the Department of Treasury froze the assets of the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA-USA) after a raid on its office in Columbia, MO, and the home of its executive director. Last week, Shereef Akeel, a lawyer for the Muslim charity, applied for a license from the U.S. Treasury Department to free its frozen assets for the purpose of paying rent and utility bills.

read in full