Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus, ranking member, have asked for information about tax-exempt organizations in connection with a Committee investigation into terrorism financing. The Committee on Finance has jurisdiction over tax matters in the Senate.
A copy of the letter follows here. It can also be found on the Finance Committee website at www.finance.senate.gov
or on Grassley's website at grassley.senate.gov
December 22, 2003
The Honorable Mark Everson
Internal Revenue Service
1111 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20224
Via mail and telefax (202) 622-4733
Dear Commissioner Everson:
The purpose of this letter is to inquire about and conduct oversight on the issue of organizations, particularly tax-exempt organizations such as charities and foundations, which finance terrorism and perpetuate violence.
Many of these groups not only enjoy tax-exempt status, but their reputations as charities and foundations often allows them to escape scrutiny, making it easier to hide and move their funds to other groups and individuals who threaten our national security. This support for the machinery of terrorism not only violates the law and tax regulations, but it violates the trust that citizens have in the large majority of charities, foundations and other groups that do good works in the United States.
Government officials, investigations by federal agencies and the Congress, and other reports have identified the crucial role that charities and foundations play in terror financing. While much attention has been paid to where their money ends up, the source of their funds is equally important. Often these groups are nothing more than shell companies for the same small group of people, moving funds from one charity to the next charity to hide the trail. These groups also receive donations from foreign sources, including countries the government has identified as having a significant problem with terrorism. The federal government and the Congress have identified several countries -some of which, ostensibly, are our allies -particularly in the Middle East, as a primary source of funds for charities and foundations that are under investigation or have fallen under suspicion for terrorist financing.
The Senate Finance Committee retains exclusive jurisdiction over tax matters in the Senate. We have a responsibility to carry out oversight to ensure charities, foundations and other groups are abiding by the laws and regulations, to examine their source of funds, and to ensure government agencies, including the IRS, are policing them and enforcing the law efficiently and effectively.
We ask that you provide copies of all IRS materials -including information protected by Section 6103 of the Internal Revenue Code -for the attached list of charities, foundations, other tax exempt organizations, and other groups. The material should include Form 990s and Form 990 PFs, including the donors list for both types; Form 1023s, the charities' applications for tax exempt status, and any and all materials from examinations, audits and other investigations, including criminal investigations. Pursuant to Internal Revenue Code section 6103(f)(4), Chairman Grassley hereby authorizes the following Finance Committee staff -Dean Zerbe, John Drake, Pat Heck and Matt Stokes -to review this information.
We would appreciate receiving this material no later than Friday, February 20,2004. Please have IRS officials contact our staff to arrange the details of delivery. We thank you in advance for your cooperation.
Sincerely, Charles E. Grassley
Charities, Foundations, Other Tax-Exempt Organizations, and Other Groups
All charities, foundations and tax-exempt organizations, groups or entities who have been designated or listed by the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) from September 11, 2001 to today.
The SAAR Foundation and all members and related entities
Global Relief Foundation (GRF)
Benevolence International Foundation (BIF)
Muslim Arab Youth Association (MAYA)
Muslim Student Association
Islamic Association for Palestine
Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF)
Muslim World League
International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) or Internal
Relief Organization (IRO)
Al Haramain Foundation
Institute of Islamic and Arabic Science in America (IIASA)
Islamic Assembly of North American
Help the Needy
Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA)
Islamic Foundation of America
United Association for Studies and Research (USAR)
Solidarity International and/or Solidarity USA
Islamic American Relief Agency and/or Islamic African Relief Agency
Islamic Society of North America
International Islamic Relief Organization
World Assembly of Muslim Youth
Human Appeal International
Some of the charities, foundations, other tax-exempt organizations or groups listed above may be included in the first category of entities listed or designated by OFAC. You do not need to provide duplicate records for these entities.
Click here for a copy of the letter sent to Commissioner Everson