Carson Calls on IRS to Terminate CAIR’s Tax-Exempt Status

Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson is calling on the Internal Revenue Service to revoke the tax-exempt status of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in response to CAIR's demand that he end his campaign and due to its status as an unindicted co-conspirator in a terrorism-financing trial.

Carson is the second presidential candidate to call on the IRS to strip the tax-exempt status of CAIR. In June, the Clarion Project broke the story that Republican presidential candidate and former New York Governor George Pataki said that CAIR's status should be revoked. Pataki called for a general policy of removing the tax-exempt statuses of any organization that promotes terrorist organizations.

In 2007, the Justice Department designated CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation for financing Hamas. The U.S. government listed CAIR as an "entity" of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood's secret Palestine Committee that was set up to advance the Hamas agenda. Omar Ahmad, the founder of CAIR, was also personally named as a member of the Palestine Committee. Significant evidence links him to Hamas financing.

In another case, federal prosecutors said, "From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists … the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”

Last year, the United Arab Emirates banned CAIR as a terrorist group because of its links to the Brotherhood, promotion of terrorist groups, incitement and alleged links to terrorism financing.

CAIR called on Carson to end his presidential campaign after he said that he would "absolutely not" support any Muslim for president of the U.S., which I criticized because of patriotic Muslims who oppose the Islamist ideology. He later altered his stance to say that he could potentially support a Muslim for president if they renounced sharia (Islamic) law.

CAIR says it is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The IRS website says that such organizations can inform the public about candidates and their policies, but they are prohibited from explicitly endorsing or opposing a candidate. It states (with my emphasis):

" Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.  Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes."

Carson has issued a statement that CAIR has "brazenly violated" the IRS rules and is asking the IRS to immediately terminate the Islamist organization's non-profit status. In addition, Carson accurately pointed out:

"This is not the first time that CAIR has disrespected U.S. laws or America. It has previously lost its tax-exempt status by failing to file federal taxes three years in a row. It had also been named by federal prosecutors as an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal conspiracy to funnel money to Hamas, a terrorist organization."

The Clarion Project will keep you updated on whether the Carson campaign files a formal complaint with the IRS and how other Democratic and Republican candidates respond to the development. We have written detailed and referenced factsheets about each candidate's positions regarding Islamism that can be viewed on our 2016 election page.

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Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.