Ministers Complain to IRS About Possible Terror Funding for Fellowship Foundation

A group of Ohio ministers reportedly claims the religious organization behind the National Prayer Breakfast may have used money from a terrorist organization.

The Fellowship Foundation, a network of nonprofits also called the International Foundation, is denying the claim, saying, "somebody is attempting to distort the truth substantially."

But Roll Call reported Thursday that a Columbus-based organization called Clergy VOICE filed a complaint with the IRS suggesting the foundation have its tax-exempt status removed. Clergy VOICE based the complaint on the contents of a guilty plea filed in July by former Rep. Mark Siljander.

Siljander pleaded guilty to improperly accepting payment from an Islamic charity accused of financing terrorism. The court documents showed that the Islamic American Relief Agency paid him with two $25,000 checks, which first went through the Fellowship Foundation before making their way to Siljander.

Clergy VOICE reportedly said the plea only accounted for $18,337, leaving open the question of how the rest of the money was spent. Noting that the foundation provided travel funds and lodging to several members of Congress via the so-called C Street house, the ministers wrote: "We are concerned that money arising from a terrorist organization has been used in conjunction with these expenses."

Foundation President Richard Carver denied the charge in an interview with Roll Call.

"This really kind of upsets me," he said, offering an e-mail from his group's accounting firm that said all the payments were given to Siljander.

Click here to read the full story in Roll Call.