Congress Launches Probe Into Groups Funding 'Pro-Hamas' Unrest on Campus

'American education is under attack,' Rep. Foxx says

(Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
May 14, 2024

Congress on Tuesday initiated a wide-ranging probe into 20 nonprofit groups bankrolling and supporting anti-Israel protests on college campuses across the nation and are petitioning federal authorities to turn over internal documents that could tie them to money laundering and terrorism financing, the Washington Free Beacon has learned.

Reps. James Comer (R., Ky.) and Virginia Foxx (R., N.C.)—chairs of the House's Committee on Oversight and Accountability and Committee on Education and the Workforce, respectively—asked the Treasury Department to immediately hand over "Suspicious Activity Reports" related to a number of campus groups and nonprofits that are providing resources to anti-Israel campus agitators. Financial institutions file these reports with the federal government if they detect instances of potential money laundering or support for terrorism. The reports could provide proof that several of the organizations behind the anti-Israel protest movement are engaging in prohibited financial activities.

Among the groups named are Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Jewish Voice for Peace, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Tides Foundation, Open Society Foundations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Adalah Justice Project, and Samidoun. All of these groups have been identified as either funders or supporters of the nationwide protest movement, which has seen students establish anti-Israel encampments on college campuses. SJP and AMP, in particular, have emerged as the top organizers of these anti-Israel protests and are being sued by Israeli terror victims, who allege that the groups serve "as collaborators and propagandists for Hamas."

The investigation marks one of Congress's most significant actions to date to identify those bankrolling nationwide anti-Israel protests and tie them to potential violations of anti-terrorism and money laundering laws. CAIR was identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in a 2009 court case related to illicit funding streams for Hamas.

Comer and Foxx say they "have grave concerns about the ongoing chaos and related illegal and antisemitic activities taking place on an increasing number of campuses across the country," according to a copy of the letter exclusively obtained by the Free Beacon.

Both House committees are "investigating the sources of funding and financing for groups who are organizing, leading, and participating in pro-Hamas, antisemitic, anti-Israel, and anti-American protests with illegal encampments on American college campuses," the letter says.

The investigation, Comer and Foxx write, "relates both to malign influence on college campuses and to the national security implications of such influence on faculty and student organizations."

The letter also sets the stage for Congress to consider legislation that would strengthen federal transparency laws regarding foreign funding at higher learning institutions, the lawmakers said. That issue has emerged as a top priority for Congress, which is examining the influence that foreign nations peddle at American colleges through multimillion-dollar donations. Qatar, Hamas's top patron, since 2007 has spent nearly $6 billion on lobbying the American government and providing grants to many of the nation's top colleges.

Comer and Foxx say that any new legislation would aim to "ensure that financial institutions have the proper internal controls and compliance programs to alert federal agencies of potential malign influence at these institutions."

Comer, in a statement to the Free Beacon, said the ongoing campus protests "are disturbing and appear to be anything but organic."

"Reports now indicate multiple leftist organizations are leading efforts to fund and encourage these hateful and unlawful encampments," he said. "As part of a House-wide effort to address this issue, the House Oversight and Education and Workforce Committees are determined to follow the money trail—something that our committees are very good at doing."

Access to the Treasury Department's Suspicious Activity Reports will enable federal investigators to ferret out financial information about those "connected to the organizations propping up these illegal encampments on university campuses," Comer said.

The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, one of the 20 groups named in the investigation, has awarded around $3.4 million to Hamas-friendly groups since 2018, the Free Beacon reported last year. These amounts include donations to an Israeli-designated Palestinian terror group and other organizations that either fund Hamas or have justified Hamas's attacks on Israel.

Similarly, Open Society Foundations, which is funded by billionaire George Soros, has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups lobbying Congress in favor of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, as well as other groups that are accusing the Jewish state of "genocide."

The Adalah Justice Project, which is part of a network of anti-Israel groups operating under the Tides Foundation's banner, has played a central role in fomenting anti-Israel sentiment and pushing Congress to abandon Israel, the Free Beacon reported last year.

Foxx, who is also spearheading several investigations into anti-Semitism on campus, said this network of funders has enabled the college protest movement to seize control of the country's top institutions.

"It's no coincidence that the day after the October 7 Hamas terrorist attack, anti-Semitic mobs began springing up at college campuses across the country," Foxx told the Free Beacon in a statement. "These protests have been coordinated and well organized, indicating that outside groups or influences may be at play. American education is under attack. It's critical that Congress investigates how these groups—who are tearing apart our institutions—are being funded and advised before it's too late."