Several Republican lawmakers are calling on the FBI to launch an investigation into a charity group that serves as a central cog in the anti-Semitic Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement and that allegedly has ties to multiple terrorist organizations.
Rep. Tim Burchett (R., Tenn.), a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, asked the FBI on Thursday to investigate the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), an anti-Israel organization that acts as a central coordinating hub for the BDS movement and its supporting organizations, according to a copy of Burchett's letter exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
PACBI is a founding member of the BDS movement and operates under the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), "which serves as an umbrella organization for designated terror groups like Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ)," according to Burchett's letter, which was also signed by committee members Greg Steube (R., Fla.) and Maria Salazar (R., Fla.). The lawmakers say the charity group could be running afoul of U.S. anti-terrorism laws due to its reported links to Hamas and PIJ. A copy of the letter was also sent to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.
Burchett's letter to the FBI is just the latest salvo in an expanding congressional probe into PACBI, which initially came under the microscope in March after the Free Beacon reported that the charity was partnered with ActBlue, the online donation platform that primarily works with Democrats and party-aligned groups. ActBlue's relationship with PACBI sparked concerns that donations made through the platform could be benefiting designated terror groups.
Burchett petitioned the Treasury and Justice Departments later in March to investigate the ActBlue-PACBI relationship, citing concerns the online charity platform could be violating anti-terrorism statutes. Burchett's office confirmed to the Free Beacon that the Treasury Department declined to investigate the relationship, prompting Thursday's letter to the FBI.
"There are serious concerns that Americans who donate to BDS-affiliated causes could be unknowingly financing terror," the lawmakers write. "Some Americans donate to organizations like the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), which supports the BDS movement, but appears to coalesce under BNC. If PACBI is financially linked to BDS, BNC, and terrorist organizations, donations by Americans to PACBI would be a federal crime."
"Donating to terrorist groups has no place in our free and democratic nation. I strongly urge you to investigate all potential connections between PACBI and terrorist groups," the lawmakers write.
"We need to get to the bottom of PACBI's financial ties to terrorist organizations," Burchett told the Free Beacon. "U.S.-based fundraisers like ActBlue host PACBI on their platforms. It's very dangerous if American donations to PACBI are financing terror against Israel and others."
PACBI is known as "a hate group that is controlled by a coalition of organizations that the United States and other countries have designated as foreign terror organizations," according to the Zachor Legal Institute, a think tank and advocacy organization that first raised concerns about ActBlue's relationship with the BDS movement.
The Zachor Legal Institute informed ActBlue's leadership in March that they could be violating state-level anti-BDS laws, as well as federal anti-terrorism laws. A search for PACBI on ActBlue's online directory still brings up a donation form for the group.
Burchett said in his mid-March letter to the Treasury and Justice Departments that he is "worried that funds donated to PACBI via ActBlue are, through BNC, directed to foreign terror organizations … [and that] if donations are indeed winding up in the hands of terrorist organizations, you should do everything in your power to put an end to this and bring those responsible to justice."