The original 1994 CAIR (now CAIR-Action Network) maintained only one website, which listed itself as a 501(c)(3) at the bottom of page. It made no distinction between its lobbying and non-profit arms. In this way, it was able to solicit funds both transparently and non-transparently.
Under IRS regulations, an organization may have 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(4) related entities, but it must maintain a wall between the two. This is accomplished by establishing separate bank accounts, board of directors, bookkeeping, and payroll. CAIR, though, had none of these.
International donors, like the government of Qatar, have made donations to “CAIR.” CAIR deposits such donations into whatever bank account it chooses: its own non-reporting lobbying account or CAIR Foundation’s 501(c)(3) charitable tax deductible bank account. CAIR can then move the money to CAIR Foundation with no reporting requirements.
“According to both the letter and spirit of the law, this is illegal as CAIR is avoiding disclosure of foreign sources of funding to a 501(c)3 (CAIR-F),” Reaboi explained to TheDC.
The nature of the non-profit scheme is so convoluted even CAIR’s leadership is confused. Under oath in a lawsuit deposition, Awad, the organization’s executive director, described CAIR’s two organizations as one and the same, was unable to make a distinction between the two and even misrepresented his own role in the group. Awad states that he’s “not privy to the exact distinction between the various organizations.”
Q. Now, we talked a little bit earlier about CAIR Action Network and CAIR Foundation, correct?
Q. And you had some idea about the distinction between those two entities. Would you tell me what you understand to be the difference between those two entities?
Awad: No, I cannot tell you exactly.
Q. Do you serve in any official capacity for CAIR Action Network?
Awad: I think I’m a board member.
Q. A board member. Are you executive director or an officer of that company?
Awad: I’m executive director of CAIR Foundation.
Q. So you serve as the executive director of CAIR Inc. and of CAIR Foundation?
Awad: CAIR Foundation.
Q. Did you not testify earlier that you serve as the executive director of CAIR Inc.?
Awad: No, I said CAIR Foundation.
Q. Okay. So again, looking—
Awad: I told you that—are you done?
Awad: The names have changed over the years. And I’m not privy to the exact distinction between the various organizations. I serve in my capacity as executive director of CAIR Foundation. And I have a good understanding of what this organization is.
Q. I didn’t hear the last part.
Awad: I have a good idea of that organization, what that represents, and my capacity in that organization.
Q. I direct your attention again to the first page of CSP Depo Exhibit 5. And we are talking about the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Inc. Form 1120 2010 filing. Do you see that?
Awad: This one?
Q. And I asked you if you were the executive director of this organization. And your answer was yes. Is your answer now that you are not the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations Inc.?
Awad: Okay. I think you’re confusing me.