FBI probed U.S. philanthropic group at Russia's request without any alleged wrongdoing, report
The group began working in the former Soviet Union in 1991, but was forced to close in 2015 after the Duma placed the foundation on a list of "undesirable organizations."
The FBI reportedly probed the MacArthur Foundation, a U.S. philanthropic organization, at the request of the Russian government even though there were no allegations of criminal actions.
Russia requested information from the FBI in 2004 about the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and its $4.5 million in grants to Ukrainians, according to documents reviewed by The Washington Times on Monday.
"We would like to ask you to request the U.S. law enforcement authorities to confirm or refute the existence of [this] foundation, and if it exists — confirm the legal nature of transactions whereby the funds were transferred to Ukrainian citizens," the Russian official wrote to the U.S. government.
Since 1970, the MacArthur Foundation has awarded more than $7.5 billion in grants to support democracy, criminal justice, journalism and the climate. The group began working in the former Soviet Union in 1991, but was forced to close in 2015 after the Duma placed the foundation on a list of "undesirable organizations."
The FBI's Chicago office fulfilled Russia's request and the foundation cooperated with the federal agency, the outlet reported.
Joshua Mintz, the Macarthur Foundation’s general counsel, confirmed the organization worked with the FBI but was unaware it was ever under investigation.
"In general, we strive to respond to reasonable requests for information from governmental entities that are otherwise publicly available or from other pertinent sources in response to the legal process," Mintz said. "We responded to a reasonable request from the FBI regarding grants we made, which are public knowledge and included in our tax returns."
The unredacted U.S. government documents do not contain any indication that the MacArthur Foundation was involved in criminal or even questionable activities.