In June 2012, the U.S. Solicitor General decided not to file a request for Supreme Court review of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Al-Haramain v. Treasury. The appellate court opinion from September 2011 had upheld a lower court’s ruling that said procedures used by the Department of Treasury to shut down the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation of Oregon (AHIF-OR) violated the organization’s Fifth Amendment and Fourth Amendment rights. In February 2004, federal agents raided AHIF-OR’s offices pursuant to a warrant as part of an investigation into financial crimes. The next day OFAC froze AHIF-OR’s assets pending an investigation into whether or not the charity would be classified as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist (SDGT).
In November 2008, a district court in Oregon ruled that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of due process requires Treasury to give adequate notice of the reasons it puts a group on the terrorist list, as well as a meaningful opportunity to respond. In addition, the court ruled that freezing the groups assets amounts to a seizure under the Fourth Amendment. Judge Garr King also ruled that the term “material support” of terrorism in Bush’s Executive Order 13224, which grants the Secretary of Treasury power to designate SDGTs, is unconstitutionally vague.
In addition to pursuing charges against the charity, the government also pursued money laundering and tax evasion charges against Pete Seda, the head of AHIF-OR. He was convicted in late 2010 and began his 33-month prison sentence in February 2012.
On Feb. 1, 2004 Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated Al Haramain charities in six countries to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT). Other AHIF organizations remained unlisted, including those based in Oregon and Saudi Arabia. After raiding AHIF-OR and seizing its assets in February 2012, OFAC issued a press release announcing the freeze, but did not state the reasons for it or obtain a court order authorizing it.