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November 24, 2015

In a Nov. 23, 2015 letter to the Department of Treasury, the Charity & Security Network (C&SN)noting the need for “ongoing engagement between the U.S. government and the NPO sector to ensure that measures intended to protect the sector from abuse by terrorist organizations are effective, risk-based, proportionate and not unduly disruptive of the activities of NPOs. “  To achieve this goal C&SN asked that Treasury open the decade-old Antiterrorist Financing Voluntary Best Practices for NPOs and the Risk Matrix for updating and revision, with input from the nonprofit sector.  The letter also asked that Treasury meet with nonprofits to discuss its June 2015 National Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment and ongoing proceedings at the Financial Action Task Force that relate to nonprofits.  Treasury responded that it plans to engage the sector on these issues, but provided no details.

November 5, 2015

A new blog on bank "de-risking" of charity accounts, authored by C&SN's Andrea Hall and published by American Banker, has generated comments from former FDIC Chairman Bill Isaac: 

"Andrea Hall shines a light on an extremely important issue that is getting scant attention from Treasury, FinCEN, bank regulators, and even bankers. More and more churches and other charitable organizations are being driven from the banking system due to fears that some of the money they handle might wind up in the hands of terrorists and other criminals. Less developed countries and their banks and citizens face the same problems as the charities. U.S. banks and government agencies disclaim responsibility for the situation and blame each other. 

October 14, 2015

Calling the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) standard for government rules to prevent nonprofit organizations (NPOs) from abuse by terrorist organizations outdated, the Global NPO Coalition on FATF submitted proposed changes to Recommendation 8 (R8) and its Interpretive Note (IN) on Oct. 8, 2015. Unchanged since 2002, R8/IN set out the criteria FATF uses to evaluate compliance with its standards in 180 countries around the world.  In June 2015 FATF published updated guidance for government implementation of R8 that promotes risk-based, proportionate approaches that protect legitimate NPOs.  NPO praised this new guidance and now supports a FATF initiative to update R8 and the IN to align them with the risk-based approach.  The recommended changes reflect a need to protect NPOs from abuse by terrorist organizations as well as overregulation by government that infringes on basic rights. FATF is expected to take action on revisions some time in 2016.

September 22, 2015

Two important events surrounding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) are expected in the coming months, both with a big impact on nonprofit organizations (NPOs).

Following the June FATF Plenary in Australia, the NPO sector can now expect a revision of the Recommendation 8 Interpretative Note (IN). At the same time, the FATF will begin its periodic evaluation of the U.S. in late 2015. The results of that evaluation will likely shape U.S. counterterrorism laws and policies affecting NPOs going forward.

September 10, 2015

A number of U.S. nonprofit organizations (NPOs) joined together to send two sign-on letters to the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), urging the government to support conflict resolution in Yemen and form a comprehensive strategy to prevent the escalation of the ongoing conflict there.