by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The anti-Israel activists who attempted to blockade a U.S. military ship bound for Israel belong to a subsidiary of a top left-wing dark money group. Experts say their potentially illegal actions could put that group at risk of losing its nonprofit status.
The Arab Resource and Organizing Center organized a “direct action” protest in the Port of Tacoma in Washington, in an effort to stop the MV Cape Orlando from leaving port to aid the Jewish state. The Arab Resource and Organizing Center is a “fiscal sponsorship” of the Tides Center, a 501(c)(3) and one of the largest left-wing dark money organizations in the country. That means there is no legal distinction between the Tides Center and the Arab Resource and Organizing Center—employees of the latter are employees of the former.
That could pose a problem for the Tides Center, which creates pop-up groups to advance progressive causes. Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation into the Arab Resource and Organizing Center for its protest. If the government charges the group with a crime, they could have grounds to strip the Tides Center of its nonprofit status.
“If criminal conduct is ultimately proven, that would not be consistent with an entity’s charitable mission under the tax code—and consequently would challenge its tax status,” said Elliot Berke, an attorney and nonprofit expert.
A revocation of the Tides Center’s nonprofit status would leave the organization essentially unable to raise money, a damaging outcome for the progressive movement. Such an outcome is unlikely from just one incident, experts say, but pushing legal limits could eventually leave investigators little choice. The attorney general of the District of Columbia last month issued subpoenas to several dark money behemoths, including the New Venture Fund, over accusations that they skirted federal regulations for how a nonprofit should operate.