CAIR billed itself as non-profit even after losing 501(c)(3) status

Font Size:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2007 terrorist funding trial, lost its non-profit status at the beginning of the month. The group, however, continued to promote itself as a 501(c)(3) status, until late Tuesday afternoon.

According to Politico, CAIR’s failure to disclose its finances to the Internal Revenue Service, required by law in order to remain tax-exempt, resulted in both CAIR and the CAIR Foundation losing their non-profit statuses.

Nevertheless, CAIR’s website continued to tout the organization as a 501(c)(3).

“CAIR is a not-for-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under U.S. Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3),” the group said on its site, including beneath its fundraising page.

Further, the organization’s “How CAIR Works” section continues to explain how it is a not-for-profit group.

“The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), grassroots civil rights and advocacy group. CAIR is America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, with regional offices nationwide and in Canada,” the group writes.

While CAIR did not respond to TheDC’s request for comment, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told Politico’s Ben Smith that the group is looking to clear up what they see as a snafu in the IRS’s process. (Amy Poehler fundraises for Planned Parenthood)

“We are looking into all of these issues and are working with the IRS to clear things up,” Hooper told Politico. “CAIR was clearly not targeted or singled in any way by the IRS.”

According to reporting from the Investigative Project on Terrorism, CAIR’s 30 state chapters’ non-profit statuses remain active.

“During the past several years, the IRS has gone the extra mile to help make tax-exempt groups aware of their legal filing requirement and allow them additional time to file,” IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman said in a statement regarding the approximately 275,000 organizations, including CAIR, which lost their tax-exempt status.

“Still, we realize there may be some legitimate organizations, especially very small ones, that were unaware of their new filing requirement. We are taking additional steps for these groups to maintain their tax-exempt status without jeopardizing their operations or harming their donors,” Shulman added.

While there is no evidence that CAIR has been targeted, national security groups are cheering the decision.

“CAIR’s recent loss of their 501 c-3 status is just the latest in a long string of actions disregarding U.S. law,” national field director for ACT! For America, Kelly Cook said.  “From their unindicted co-conspirator designation in the Holy Land Foundation trial to their overt willingness to be the propaganda arm for the terrorist group Hamas to their reckless use of non-profit monies for direct campaign purposes, there is very little about CAIR that could be attributed as American in any sense of the word.”

Update: Upon publication of this report, CAIR had scrubbed its 501 (c)(3) status from its website, except for in its “How CAIR Works” section. The piece has been updated to reflect that change.

Follow Caroline on Twitter