On July 2, 2009 the Charity and Security Network sent a letter to President Obama asking for meeting to “to provide background information on how current national security rules create problems for all U.S. charities and to provide recommendations for change.”
The letter thanked the President for his remarks in Cairo recognizing the problems charitable giving rules create for U.S. Muslim donors. It notes that these rules create problems for the entire U.S. nonprofit sector, but says “We are confident that new approaches that reflect the mission and expertise of the U.S. charitable community are not only possible, but essential to the success of your national security and public diplomacy strategies.”
The Network said such change “must address systemic problems” and indicated four benchmarks for success:
- Provide clear standards for permissible charitable and development activity that are consistent with long-standing norms for humanitarian operations, such as the Code of Conduct for the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Disaster Relief.
- Provide a fair opportunity for charities accused of supporting terrorism to defend themselves.
- Protect charitable assets from indefinite freezing and allow these resources to further the charitable mission donors intended to support.
- Withdraw the Treasury Department’s Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: Voluntary Best Practices for U.S.-based Charities.
The letter was endorsed by diverse group of U.S. organizations, including faith-based charities, civil liberties groups and grantmakers.