The Risk of Losing Nonprofit Status: Anti-Israel Activists and Dark Money
A group of anti-Israel activists recently attempted to blockade a U.S. military ship bound for Israel, and their actions could have serious consequences for the nonprofit organization they belong to. The Arab Resource and Organizing Center, a subsidiary of the Tides Center, one of the largest left-wing dark money organizations in the country, organized the protest in the Port of Tacoma, Washington.
The Tides Center, known for creating pop-up groups to advance progressive causes, could face potential legal trouble due to the criminal investigation into the Arab Resource and Organizing Center’s protest. If the group is charged with a crime, it could jeopardize the Tides Center’s nonprofit status.
Elliot Berke, an attorney and nonprofit expert, explains, “If criminal conduct is ultimately proven, that would not be consistent with an entity’s charitable mission under the tax code—and consequently would challenge its tax status.”
While it is unlikely that one incident would lead to the revocation of the Tides Center’s nonprofit status, continuously pushing legal limits could leave investigators with little choice. The attorney general of the District of Columbia has already issued subpoenas to several dark money organizations, including the New Venture Fund, for alleged violations of federal regulations.
The Tides Center, with its vast resources, can quickly deploy its fiscal sponsorships to support various causes. The Adalah Justice Project, a primary organizer of recent anti-Israel demonstrations, is another Tides fiscal sponsorship. However, the Arab Resource and Organizing Center’s involvement in the “block the boat” protest may have crossed legal boundaries.
Jason Torchinsky, a nonprofit attorney, emphasizes that while free speech is allowed, nonprofit funds cannot be used to support criminal activities, such as violating U.S. Coast Guard rules and interfering with military operations.
Lawmakers have previously called for investigations into nonprofits involved in criminal activity. Sen. Ron Wyden demanded an IRS investigation into whether any 501(c)(3) organizations helped organize the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
The Arab Resource and Organizing Center, described by the Tides Center as a grassroots organization working towards justice and self-determination, is actually a leading voice in the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, & Sanctions movement. Their protest in Tacoma involved other left-wing activist groups, including Jewish Voices for Peace and Samidoun Seattle, an Israeli-designated terrorist group.
It remains unclear which Tides Center donor specifically supported the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. However, in 2019, Soros’s Open Society Foundations contributed $225,000 to pro-Palestinian initiatives at the Tides Center.
As of now, representatives for Soros, Tides, and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center have not responded to requests for comment.
What impact could the legal troubles of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center have on the reputation and funding of the Tides Center
Nter’s nonprofit status, it does highlight the potential risks that anti-Israel activists and dark money organizations face when engaging in illegal activities. Nonprofit organizations are given tax-exempt status in the United States because they are deemed to be working for the public good. However, if an organization engages in criminal behavior, it undermines the integrity of the entire sector.
The Arab Resource and Organizing Center’s actions were not only illegal but also disruptive to the U.S.-Israel relationship. The military ship they attempted to blockade was carrying supplies and equipment that support the U.S.-Israel security cooperation. These actions show a reckless disregard for the well-being of both countries and aim to undermine the peace and stability in the region.
Dark money organizations like the Tides Center have come under scrutiny in recent years for their lack of transparency and accountability. These organizations receive significant funding from wealthy individuals and foundations, often with a political agenda. The use of “pop-up” groups by the Tides Center allows them to quickly mobilize resources and activists for their causes. However, it also makes it difficult to track the flow of money and investigate potential wrongdoing.
The legal troubles faced by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center could have far-reaching consequences for the Tides Center. If the organization is found to have violated the law, it could face financial penalties, loss of grant funding, and damage to its reputation. Moreover, the very purpose of the organization, advancing progressive causes, could be called into question if it is associated with criminal behavior.
Nonprofit organizations play a crucial role in society, addressing important issues and promoting social change. However, they must operate within the bounds of the law and fulfill their charitable mission. Anti-Israel activists and dark money organizations need to be held accountable for their actions, especially when they jeopardize the nonprofit sector as a whole.
The investigation into the Arab Resource and Organizing Center’s protest should serve as a wake-up call for those who engage in illegal activities in the name of political causes. The consequences can be severe, not only for the individuals involved but also for the organizations they represent. The nonprofit sector is built on trust and integrity, and any violation of these principles puts the entire sector at risk.
In conclusion, the recent protest organized by the Arab Resource and Organizing Center highlights the potential risks that anti-Israel activists and dark money organizations face. Engaging in illegal activities can undermine the nonprofit status of organizations and damage the integrity of the sector as a whole. It is essential that individuals and organizations working for progressive causes operate within the bounds of the law and uphold the values of transparency and accountability.
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