Grassley asks Biden nominee Powell about effort to remove terror funding group from sanctions list

"It is critically important that U.S. dollars not go to funding terrorist activity," Grassley said.

Published: February 19, 2021 12:40pm

Updated: February 20, 2021 4:04pm

Iowa Republican Rep. Chuck Grassley is seeking answers from President Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Agency for International Development, Samantha Power, to questions about why as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations did she appear to try to help remove a terrorist-funding group from the Treasury Department's sanctions list.

In a letter Thursday to Powell, Grassley writes that while investigating allegations that the nonprofit World Vision had partnered with and diverted government funds to the terrorist-funding group Islamic Relief Agency he also learned that she, as U.N ambassador, was involved in efforts to delist ISRA from the department's Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons list.

"It remains unclear from the emails examined by my office why you would take an interest in advocating on behalf of a foreign sanctioned entity, Grassley also wrote.  

He also said his investigation concluded that World Vision was not originally aware of ISRA’s sanctioned status and did not seek to circumvent U.S. law. 

Grassley is requested information by March 4 about whether Power or her staff was aware of ISRA’s history of financing terrorism, whether ISRA was the only group receiving help from her office, and what consultation with legal counsel or other parts of the Obama administration they received with regard to ISRA sanction status.

The Islamic Relief Agency has ties to the Al Qaeda, having providing the terror network with millions of dollars and attempted to hide and relocate leader Osama Bin Laden, according to the initial memo.

Bin Laden was found and killed in Pakistan in May 2011 by U.S. Special Forces.

"It is critically important that U.S. dollars not go to funding terrorist activity," Grassley also wrote to Power, who left her ambassadorship when President Trump took office in January 2017.

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