If you asked most Americans if they thought their tax dollars are best spent supporting groups tied to terrorism, the majority of them would without a doubt say no. It seems like pretty basic common sense to not award any funding to groups or organizations that have been tied to radical groups. For whatever reason, this basic concept has been lost on some as real tax dollars are being awarded to at least one organization that has direct links to terrorist supports. The group in question is the Islamic Relief Worldwide (IRW). This “charity” has been connected with several groups known for supporting terrorism, namely Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, has authored a bill to reverse years of funding for the IRW. The group has received financing in the form of grants from several organizations within the federal government under the Obama administration. DeSantis has committed to correct this horrible error and end the current access IRW has to tax dollars.
According to a report about this upcoming piece of legislation:
“The new measure, which was proposed as an amendment to Congress’s yearly appropriations bill, which sets U.S. expenditures, would ban any taxpayer funds from being provided to Islamic Relief Worldwide, or IRW, a global charitable organization that has been linked to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
IRW is banned in some Middle Eastern countries for its alleged support of terror organizations, though the United States has continued to provide taxpayer funds to the organization under the Obama administration, sparking outrage among some lawmakers and regional experts.”
DeSantis has taken the leadership role in the push to finally support the ban of the IRW that is already in place in other parts of the world. It is shocking that the United States quietly supported the efforts of the IRW years after those in the Middle East made clear connections between the group and those who support terrorist activities. As DeSantis explained in a recent press statement:
“U.S. tax dollars cannot go to groups involved in funding terrorism. Any group tied to Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood should be ineligible for funding. It is a slap in the face of the American taxpayer to allow such groups to receive federal funding.”
This is not the first time members of Congress have expressed concern over funds going to the IRW. In 2015, the fact that the group was granted $100,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID. This is a tax funded part of the United States government, so this award came directly from tax monies.
Even with the concerns from 2015, the IRW continued to secure funding from tax payers. After the group drew bad press for accessing funds from the USAID, they quietly turned to another federal agency for grant money in 2016. This time they received $270,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services.
It is clear that the IRW is skilled in finding ways to access tax payer funding as they jump from one part of the system to the other. This is a big reason why something like the current amendment proposed by DeSantis is so important. This will make it very clear that they are no longer eligible for any tax money, regardless of the sponsoring agency.
The formal wording of this new measure simply states:
DIVISION G OF RULES COMMITTEE PRINT 115–31 OFFERED BY MR. DESANTIS OF FLORIDA
At the end of the division G (before the short title),
insert the following:
SEC. l. None of the funds made available by this 1
Act may be awarded to Islamic Relief Worldwide.”
This line is added to the current document may seem like something small, but it could clean up years of systematic abuse of tax funds by the IRW. Applying or accessing tax funds through any part of the government going forward would no longer be an option for the organization or the deplorable groups it has ties to.
DeSantis has made this type of work a key part of his time in Congress. He has focused on cutting government waste and reforming needed measures that do not support the best use of tax funds. This current effort to end support of the IRW is one of many steps he has taken for the American tax payers.