The Charity & Security Network has prepared analysis on a number of topics relevant to our members, including Enabling Environment for Civil Society, Partner Vetting System, Material Support and Humanitarian Aid, as well as discussion of U.S. Departments of Treasury and State policies. Here you will find a list of topics and links.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 2462 to “Combat, Criminalize Financing of Terrorists, Their Activities” on March 28, 2019. It is binding on all member states and can be enforced by UN sanctions. Sponsored by France, Resolution 2462 is the results of intense behind-the-scenes negotiations, including efforts by civil society to include clear safeguards for humanitarian and peacebuilding activities as well as cautions against further bank derisking of nonprofit organizations (NPOs). It is the first comprehensive UN resolution on countering financing of terrorism (CFT), incorporating a patchwork of previous resolutions and broadening CFT efforts to address new threats and improve investigation and enforcement activities. Notably, Resolution 2462 requires member states to take international humanitarian (IHL), human rights law (IHRL) and refugee (IRL) law into account and make CFT efforts consistent with these existing legal obligations. These safeguards, which are weaker than what civil society proposed, will require civil society engagement at both the UN and member state level to build understanding of what IHL, IHRL and IRL require and advocate for appropriate implementation. This engagement will be a major factor in how Resolution 2462 impacts civil society, as there are no clear enforcement mechanisms for violations of these human rights and humanitarian standards.
This spring the Charity & Security Network learned of several lawsuits filed in U.S. courts against nonprofit organizations (NPOs) that receive USAID funding. Using a law meant to combat fraud against the federal government by providing incentives for private citizens to act as whistleblowers (the False Claims Act), the Zionist Advocacy Center (TZAC) has alleged that three groups violated the anti-terrorist certification in their grant agreements with USAID by providing "material support" to groups on the terrorist lists. In two of these cases, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) joined the lawsuits, which were settled without trial. The third, against the Carter Center, was dismissed at the request of DOJ. TZAC says it has filed two additional cases against international NGOs. They are currently under seal.
This memo provides background on the False Claims Act, USAID anti-terrorism certification and the definition of material support. It suggests red flags NPOs should watch for and potential steps NPOs can take to protect themselves.
This case study of the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) evaluation of the United States, which took place in 2015-2016, reviews the experience of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) seeking to provide input to the evaluation team and makes recommendations to make the process for stakeholder input more transparent and streamlined.
Investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election has generated high interest in the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), which requires registration and disclosure by those acting “for or on behalf of” foreign governments and entities. Now several bills have been introduced in Congress to strengthen FARA. Such amendments have the potential to create problems for nonprofit organizations (NPOs) and should be closely monitored and analyzed if any move forward. FARA has been cited as a model to justify restrictive legislation in several countries that target NPOs and infringe on their rights of association, assembly and expression. This analysis provides background on FARA, a description of pending bills in Congress and links to summaries of foreign laws that distort FARA’s legitimate aims in order to close civil society space.
Since the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project (HLP), peacebuilding organizations have faced significant uncertainty as to what communications with Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) remain permissible under the prohibition on material support of terrorism in 18 USC 2339B. Although there have been no prosecutions for peacebuilding activities since the decision, the lack of clarity about how it should be interpreted and applied has created a chilling impact on peacebuilding activities, inhibited constitutionally permitted speech and association, and reduced the kinds of contacts that might help prevent/counter violent extremism and terrorism. This fact sheet is intended to provide a measure of clarity by drawing on representations made by the government to the Supreme Court during oral argument and in its brief in the Holder litigation about what it considers to be permissible communications with listed groups. A chart summarizing these statements is included. A PDF of this analysis is available here.
When U.S. sanctions laws are applied to U.S. charities, funds can be frozen indefinitely, despite tax rules that require they be distributed for charitable purposes when a charity shuts down. In the Oct. 10, 2016 issue of Tax Notes, attorneys Cherie L. Evans of Evans & Rosen LLP and Kay Guinane, Director of the Charity & Security Network, explain how the “Gap Between Tax and Sanctions Law Blocks Life-Saving Aid.” After summarizing the relevant provisions of tax and sanctions law and key court cases, the article explains how designation of a U.S.
The Financial Action Task Force released the results of its Mutual Evaluation of the United States on Dec. 1, 2016, assessing compliance with its 40 anti-terrorist financing and anti-money laundering standards, including Recommendation 8 (R8) on nonprofit organizations (NPOs). While the evaluation found the U.S. to be “largely compliant” with R8, it noted that R8 was revised in June 2016. The evaluation is based on the prior version.
The Partner Vetting System (PVS) is a pilot program created to vet individuals in nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and for-profit entities who apply for United States Agency for International Development (USAID) contracts and grants, to ensure that USAID-funded activities are not inadvertently providing support to entities associated with terrorism. Under the PVS pilot program, the U.S. government requires many grant applicants to submit detailed personal information on key employees and subcontractors to USAID for comparison with intelligence databases.