Non-profit humanitarian agency World Vision United States improperly transacted with the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA) in 2014 with approval from the Obama administration, sending government funds to an organization that had been sanctioned over its ties to terrorism, according to a new report.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) recently released a report detailing the findings of an investigation his staff began in February 2019 into the relationship between World Vision and ISRA.
The probe found that World Vision was not aware that ISRA had been sanctioned by the U.S. since 2004 after funneling roughly $5 million to Maktab al-Khidamat, the predecessor to Al-Qaeda controlled by Osama Bid Laden.
“World Vision works to help people in need across the world, and that work is admirable,” Grassley said in a statement. “Though it may not have known that ISRA was on the sanctions list or that it was listed because of its affiliation with terrorism, it should have. Ignorance can’t suffice as an excuse. World Vision’s changes in vetting practices are a good first step, and I look forward to its continued progress.”
The investigation was sparked by a July 2018 National Review article in which Sam Westrop, the director of the Middle East Forum’s Islamist Watch, detailed MEF’s findings that the Obama administration had approved a “$200,000 grant of taxpayer money to ISRA.”
Government officials specifically authorized the release of “at least $115,000” of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization, Westrop wrote.