Published June 28, 2011
A Virginia congressman wants the IRS to investigate the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- a major Muslim advocacy group -- after its tax-exempt status was revoked over an apparent problem with its paperwork.
Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman, requested an investigation into whether the group "may have violated U.S. law in soliciting or accepting money from foreign governments or agents" during the period when CAIR "failed" to file required forms to the IRS.
It's unclear exactly what CAIR failed to file. The group was included earlier this month on a list of 275,000 organizations that the IRS said were losing tax-exempt status because they did not file annual reports for three consecutive years as required by law.
Reached for comment last week, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper described the matter as a "technical paperwork issue" and said CAIR was trying to sort it out with the IRS.
Hooper told FoxNews.com that the organization's accountant says CAIR "filed promptly in the last several years." He said the status problem stems from "questions" over filings dating back to 2006 or 2007.
"We'll be doing whatever's necessary ... to rectify the situation," Hooper said.
But Wolf cited concern about the possibility of CAIR improperly seeking foreign donations. His request to Shulman cited a purported letter from CAIR Director Nihad Awad to Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi in 2009 asking for his support in launching a "Muslim Peace Foundation" -- that letter would have been sent long before Qaddafi launched attacks on his own people, triggering a NATO-led military campaign to protect civilians. CAIR officials have since come out against Qaddafi.
Wolf also claimed to have "information" indicating CAIR representatives "may have" traveled to Sudan to seek donations from President Omar Bashir.
"I am concerned that Awad and CAIR may be soliciting -- and receiving -- funds from other unsavory foreign governments and organizations, including some that may be sponsors of terror," Wolf wrote.
The required IRS annual reports typically include information about a group's donations and other sources of revenue, as well as expenses, activities, investments and compensation of employees. Revenue information would include a breakdown of how much money is coming from various sources like membership dues and fundraising events, but not necessarily information on specific donors.