Using Nonprofit Status to Profit From Hate

October 24, 2010; Source: The Tennessean | It’s bad enough that some people are finding ways to profit from fostering hate about Muslims through lectures, books, and films. But it’s even worse that some are doing it at the expense of U.S. taxpayers because of tax-exempt donations to nonprofits that support hate mongering.

For instance, as The Tennessean reports, in 2008, the for-profit Washington-based SAE Productions was paid $3.9 million from a nonprofit to study alleged ties between American Muslims and foreign terrorism. More so, the Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation, which the newspaper says “solicits money by telling donors they’re in imminent danger from Muslims,” was founded by Steven Emerson, who also runs SAE Productions. In response to what appears to be a violation of the so-called foundation’s tax-exempt status, a spokesman for SAE says it’s using the money it receives “for security reasons,” adding that everything was legal and the work being funded is designed to protect the company’s workers from death threats.

Ken Berger, president of Charity Navigator, a nonprofit watchdog group, couldn’t disagree more. He says, “It’s wrong. This is off the charts.” Emerson is not alone in using a nonprofit to personally benefit from stirring up anti-Islamic feelings in the country. Frank Gaffney, who heads the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Center for Security Policy, was paid $288,300 in 2008. Recently he testified in hearings to block the construction of a mosque in Rutherford County, Tenn. During his testimony, Gaffney, who served in the Reagan Administration as an assistant defense secretary, claimed local mosque leaders had ties to a network of Middle Eastern universities and other individuals who supported terrorism. As The Tennessean reports, he cited “his own report on Shariah law as a threat to America, one he wrote with other self-proclaimed experts.”

Based on IRS filings from 2008, others making the rounds of what the newspaper describes as the “anti-Islam circuit” and profiting from their nonprofit status include Robert Spencer, of Jihadwatch.org, who earned $132,537 from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative nonprofit. In addition, Brigitte Tudor was paid $152,810 to run the anti-Islam groups ACT! For America and the American Congress for Truth. Tudor’s fellow employee, Guy Rogers, received a $154,900 salary for his work with the groups.—Bruce Trachtenberg