CAIR headquarters in Washington
What is America’s most prominent Muslim advocacy group hiding?
The Council on American-Islamic Relations is delinquent in filing its tax returns by nearly two years, the IRS has confirmed, raising new suspicions the embattled nonprofit group is concealing from the American public details about its already shadowy financial activities.
Washington-based CAIR, which receives revenue from Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, is required by federal law to file its tax returns annually with the IRS to maintain its tax-exempt status.
However, it still has not filed its 2007 returns, according to the IRS. Its 2008 tax filing is also late.
Registered as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, CAIR must make its finances public each year by filing IRS Form 990.
Under a new federal law, effective starting for tax years ending on or after Dec. 31, 2007, if an organization fails to file either Form 990-N, Form 990, or Form 990 EZ for three consecutive years, its tax-exempt status will automatically be revoked.
To waive separate IRS penalties, CAIR’s national office must prove that “reasonable cause” and not “willful neglect” was behind its lengthy delay in filing its tax records.
Most of CAIR’s 30 chapters have filed their 2007 returns, and many have filed their 2008 tax forms. It’s not clear why CAIR National has repeatedly failed to meet the original filing deadline and subsequent three-month extensions.
Both CAIR and its outside auditor, Joey Musmar, declined comment.
Critics say they are not surprised CAIR has run afoul of IRS rules. They say it is just a matter of time before the “dirty” organization is forced to open its books to government auditors and other investigators.
“CAIR’s days are numbered,” said Middle East Forum executive director Daniel Pipes. “It’s a dirty institution, founded by Islamic terrorists and with many subsequent ties to terrorists.”
Last November, several members of Congress asked the IRS to audit CAIR.
“It has come to our attention that the Council on American-Islamic Relations may be in violation of both the anti-excessive lobbying provision of its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 by their failure to register with Congress as a federal lobbying organization,” wrote Sen. Tom Coburn and Reps. Sue Myrick, John Shadegg, Paul Broun, Trent Franks and Patrick McHenry in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman.
The lawmakers cited an internal CAIR memo uncovered by the authors of the bestselling “Muslim Mafia,” which shows that in 2005, when Congress met for fewer than 150 days, CAIR by its own admission came to Capitol Hill no fewer than 72 separate occasions to lobby members of Congress to repeal the USA Patriot Act, which was passed overwhelming by Congress after 9/11 to help law enforcement crack down on Islamic terrorists.
“In other words,” the lawmakers’ pointed out in their letter, “half the days Congress was in session that year, CAIR was on the Hill lobbying against this piece of legislation.”
According to “Muslim Mafia,” co-authored by investigative journalist Paul Sperry and former federal agent P. David Gaubatz, CAIR is operating in the red as membership dues have plummeted to less than 1 percent of total revenues.
The group’s national office reported revenues of more than $2.7 million in 2006, the latest IRS records available. Of that total, just $41,000 came from membership dues. In 2004, by comparison, dues totaled $119,000.
Fundraising dinner donations have also fallen. And in 2006, CAIR reported an overall budget deficit of $161,000, after running a surplus of more than $338,000 in 2004.
Recent terror charges have taken an additional toll on CAIR’s membership and fundraising.
Citing new evidence emerging from a 2007 federal terror trial in which CAIR and its founding chairman were named as unindicted terrorist co-conspirators, the FBI cut formal outreach ties to CAIR’s headquarters and all its branch offices. The Obama administration has not lifted the ban on the organization, which was founded in 1994.
FBI agent Lara Burns testified at the Holy Land Foundation trial in Texas that CAIR is a “front group” for the Hamas terrorist organization, which has killed at least 17 Americans and injured more than 100 U.S. citizens.
The Justice Department also listed CAIR as a member of the radical Muslim Brotherhood in America – parent of Hamas and al-Qaida, and the subject of the blockbuster “Muslim Mafia.”
A federal judge last year denied CAIR’s request to remove its criminal co-conspirator designation.
According to a June 2009 ACLU report, “Blocking Faith, Freezing Charity: Chilling Muslim Charitable Giving in the ‘War on Terrorism Financing,'” CAIR’s Dallas-Fort Worth chapter, for one, has suffered a precipitous drop in contributions since the government’s blacklisting of CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator.
The ACLU reports the chapter president, Moufa Nahhas, saying the following:
“Contributions to CAIR have gone down, so we can hire fewer people, can run fewer activities. People are afraid to come to events. Mosques are also hesitant to open the doors to us, to the organization. In Richardson (Texas, the headquarters of the Holy Land Foundation), the mosque doesn’t even want the administration of CAIR to come and pray there, because of fear. …
“People don’t want to serve on the board. They say they support us and want to help, but they don’t want to be named as a member of the board. People don’t want a letter or newsletter from CAIR coming to their house – they don’t want their name on the mailings.”
CAIR’s national office is also struggling financially. In fact, it has had to rent out one of the floors of its headquarters building, located within three blocks of the U.S. Capitol, to an outside tenant, according to “Muslim Mafia.”
“There’s no way to soften this: We need financial help,” pleaded CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad in a desperate appeal for money posted on the group’s website last November after its annual fundraising dinner fell short of its goals for donations.
“Now is the time to send in a generous donation, become a CAIR member or renew your membership,” CAIR said in an “Action” item sent to Muslims before its October fundraiser, which was held just a week after a congressional press conference announcing an investigation into CAIR’s lobbying activities.
Insiders say the negative publicity has scared away some of CAIR’s regular donors, including the UAE Embassy – which along with several other Muslim embassies, disappeared from the list of supporters at CAIR’s 2009 fundraising banquet in Washington.
“How is CAIR funded?” asked former Pentagon official Frank Gaffney, now president of the Center for Security Policy in Washington. “The Departments of Justice and Treasury know that CAIR has received foreign contributions in the thousands and even millions, since Steve Emerson, Paul Sperry, Joe Kaufman, Andrew Whitehead, the Department of Justice prosecutors, the mainstream U.S. and Arabic press and others have publicized those foreign donations and pledges for over a decade.
“At their website, CAIR encourages foreign embassies to purchase tables at their fundraisers,” he added. “Even this foreign support has declined as CAIR’s power has faded.”
Political support for CAIR even among liberal Democrats also is waning. Between 2006 and 2009, members of Congress attending CAIR’s annual fundraiser fell from 23 to four.
And more and more Muslim-Americans are distancing themselves from the group.
According to CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper, “CAIR has some 50,000 members,” when in fact the organization has precisely 5,133 members – or a tenth of the figure Hooper claims – according to “Muslim Mafia,” which cites an internal CAIR report prepared for a June 2007 executive staff meeting.
“Muslim Mafia” also presents evidence that Hooper has misled Washington reporters about the source of most of CAIR’s financial support.
Hooper has repeatedly denied that CAIR receives foreign support, insisting it’s a “grass-roots” nonprofit organization. In CAIR press releases, he has stated, unequivocally: “We do not support directly or indirectly or receive support from any overseas group or government.”
However, smoking-gun video footage obtained during a recent six-month covert investigation of CAIR puts the lie to Hooper’s claims.
In a private conversation with undercover researcher Chris Gaubatz, who was posing at the time as a CAIR intern, Hooper boasted that he personally can “bring (in) a half million of overseas money” a year, adding: “If some guy’s got a lot of extra money in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia), I don’t mind taking it.”
Hooper made the remarks Aug. 30, 2008, during the Islamic Society of North America’s 2008 annual convention in Columbus, Ohio.
A State Department cable citing Hooper by name, moreover, directly contradicts Hooper’s denials about foreign support, according to “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America,” which exposes the secret inner workings of CAIR, among other radical Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America. (The book is based, in part, on voluminous documentary and videotaped evidence gathered by Gaubatz, son of co-author P. David Gaubatz, during his internship at CAIR.)
The sensitive but unclassified communique was written by U.S. Embassy staff in Saudi Arabia, who in June 2006 reported the following after meeting with a CAIR delegation: “One admitted reason for the group’s current visit to the KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) was to solicit $50 million in governmental and non-governmental contributions.”
“(Saudi) King Abdullah knows CAIR very well,” the cable added.
Among other things, CAIR said the money would be used to “counter negative stereotypes about Muslims in the U.S.” media, a phenomenon described by CAIR as “Islamophobia.”
The core delegation, according to the cable, consisted of Hooper, CAIR chief Awad and then-CAIR Chairman Parvez Ahmed. Besides Riyadh, the trio also visited Mecca and Jeddah.
Just three months after the trip, Hooper denied soliciting Saudi government funds.
“To my knowledge, we don’t take money from the government of Saudi Arabia,” he said in a September 2006 appearance on MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson show.
CAIR in January 2007 prepared a secret “strategy” memo launching what the “Muslim Mafia” authors call a hostile influence operation against Congress to undermine homeland security and anti-terror efforts.
Fox News, whose parent company’s second-largest stakeholder is a Saudi prince who also bankrolls CAIR, mistakenly reported last October that the CAIR memo stated it would place interns on congressional intelligence committees. The Fox story noted, dismissively, that the intelligence panels do not hire interns.
In fact, the memo – a copy of which was provided to Fox by members of Congress – clearly states that CAIR would try to “influence” the intelligence committees, along with committees dealing with homeland security and justice, while placing interns in “congressional offices.”
CAIR has been successful in both endeavors.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The CAIR legal attack on WND’s author is far from over. WND needs your help in supporting the defense of “Muslim Mafia” co-author P. David Gaubatz, as well as his investigator son Chris, against CAIR’s lawsuit. Already, the book’s revelations have led to formal congressional demands for three different federal investigations of CAIR. In the meantime, however, someone has to defend these two courageous investigators who have, at great personal risk, revealed so much about this dangerous group. Although WND has procured the best First Amendment attorneys in the country for their defense, we can’t do it without your help. Please donate to WND’s Legal Defense Fund now. Thank you.