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GOP senators press IRS to investigate revoking tax breaks for groups that fomented campus unrest

Joni Ernst and Ernst 14 colleagues noted victims of Oct. 7 atrocities in Israel sued some groups for being a Hamas propaganda division.

Published: May 11, 2024 8:13am

Fifteen Republican senators are demanding the IRS investigate whether nonprofit groups that helped foment pro-Hamas unrest on college campuses violated their tax-exempt status by supporting a designated terrorist group.

In a letter led by Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, the senators identified the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP), the AJP Educational Foundation (AJP), the Tides Foundation, the Westchester Peace Action Committee Foundation (WESPAC Foundation), and others and asked IRS Commissioner Danny Werfel to determine if they “engaged in conduct warranting revocation of their tax-exempt statuses on the basis of their financial support of NSJP.”

Ernst and her colleagues noted victims of the Oct. 7 atrocities in Israel have sued AJP and NSJP for being a Hamas propaganda division in the United States and cited their “control” over Students for Justice in Palestine chapters, which have been protesting on campuses. 

“It is long-established precedent that when 501(c)(3) organizations have ‘planned activities that violate laws’ or engage in activities designed ‘to induce the commission of a crime or if the accomplishment of the purpose is otherwise against public policy,’ the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has grounds to revoke their tax-exempt status,” the senators wrote.

“In fact, the IRS has set the precedent that ‘organizations have been held not to qualify for IRC 501(c)(3) on grounds that the activities of the organizations in question contravened public policy even though the organizations did not violate any federal statutes or state or local laws,’” they added.

The senators also pointed out Friday that these organizations and the protests are blatantly supporting Hamas, even though it is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO).

“In light of this abhorrent support for an FTO, we call on you to initiate an investigation to determine whether financial supporters of NSJP, including but not limited to AJP, the WESPAC Foundation, and the Tides Foundation, have engaged in conduct warranting their tax-exempt status to be stripped,” they added.

The groups have defended themselves, insisting they are engaged in a good cause, even as they urge protests to be part of a larger violent movement known as intifada.

The National Students for Justice in Palestine recently posted in X that its members “are developing a generation of disciplined, politicized young leaders who will carry the torch of our struggle.” The group added: “Long live the Student Intifada.”

You can read the senators full letter here:

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