Earlier this week, I reported on the ongoing stonewall efforts by the Department of Homeland Security regarding any questions related to my PJ Media exclusive last month that DHS Advisory Council member Mohamed Elibiary had downloaded Texas Department of Public Safety reports from a sensitive DHS database and shopped those documents to at least one left-leaning media outlet claiming that Gov. Rick Perry was running an “Islamophobia” operation.
But while Janet Napolitano continues to stonewall questions about how, when, and why Elibiary was given access to this (including questions posed by my colleague Erick Stakelbeck of CBN News), I can report exclusively here that the organization that Elibiary founded and has operated and headed since 2002, the Plano, Texas-based Freedom and Justice Foundation, had its 501(c)3 tax-exempt status revoked by the IRS in May 2010 for failing to file the required annual IRS Form 990s.
According to the Texas IRS revocations posted on the IRS website, the Freedom and Justice Foundation had its tax-exempt status revoked on May 15, 2010. But even after that date, Elibiary’s organization continued to solicit tax-exempt donations on its website.
From a September 9, 2010, internet archive of the Freedom and Justice Foundation’s website we see that nearly four months after the IRS revocation, Elibiary had PayPal links for three separate projects under the Texas Islamic Council as part of a state-wide two-year effort to raise $250,000: a Muslim scholarship fund, media campaigns, and interfaith community relations. The Texas Islamic Council operates as a DBA of the Freedom and Justice Foundation. At the bottom of the page is a separate button with the words: “Support Our work via a tax-deductible donation!” Each of those four PayPal links is still active and workable.
Even today, the Freedom and Justice Foundation sports a PayPal donation link on its website.
A charity report for Elibiary’s Freedom and Justice Foundation on the Guidestar website explains IRS justification for the revocation of the group’s tax-exempt status:
This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.
In fact, it appears (and we are awaiting confirmation from the IRS) that Elibiary’s organization never filed 990s with the IRS since its founding in 2002. Yet as recently as November 2010, the organization had at least four employees listed on its website.
Earlier this week, I spoke with an attorney who handles not-for-profit tax issues. The attorney reviewed the IRS notice and Guidestar report for the Freedom and Justice Foundation, and I asked what the reasoning might be for not filing the required 990s:
The only possible reason someone would possibly jeopardize their 501(c)3 status by refusing to file would be to conceal the sources of income from the U.S. government. If he was concerned about anyone else finding out that information, that part of the 990 is not accessible to the public, so that’s no excuse. And for such a high-profile personality to decide to just never file doesn’t make a lick of sense unless there’s something he’s deliberately trying to hide. And there are serious questions that need to be answered by the rest of the board of directors too.
How did Elibiary obtain and keep a security clearance when he refused for nearly a decade to reveal his organization’s sources of income to the federal government? This is especially problematic considering he needed that clearance for his work with the FBI, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
The Freedom and Justice Foundation’s tax-exempt status was revoked in May 2010. Elibiary was not appointed to the Homeland Security Advisory Council until October 15, 2010 — more than five months later. When DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was questioned by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX01) about Elibiary before a House Judiciary Committee hearing last month, she said that all members of the Advisory Council eventually get secret clearances.
But how was Mohamed Elibiary able to pass the clearance process when his organization had already had its tax-exempt status revoked? More than 45 percent of all security clearance denials are for financial reasons, and many of those are for much more trivial reasons than this instance. Did Elibiary report his group’s tax-exempt revocation by the IRS for his security clearance investigation? If not, why is he still serving with these government agencies and why does he still have his security clearance? If he did report it, how did he get his clearance approved and who approved it? Was there outside intervention at all to help him obtain his clearance? What is the status of his clearance following the HS SLIC leak allegations? And what are the implications of Elibiary continuing to raise money from the Freedom and Justice Foundation website when its tax-exempt status has long since been revoked?
These are all questions that any investigation should look into, but as I reported earlier this week, despite the direct request by TX DPS Director Steve McCraw for an investigation into the allegations of Elibiary’s leaks, one DHS official told me that not only is no such investigation underway, but Secretary Napolitano will make sure that there never is. If that’s the case, Congress clearly needs to step in.