GOP senators demand probe of nonprofit groups linked to pro-Palestinian campus protests

A coalition of Republican senators are demanding an investigation into the nonprofit organizations that have supported pro-Palestinian protests that have raged on college campuses across the country.

In a letter addressed to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel, the senators, led by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), asked for a probe into several organizations that “have engaged in conduct warranting revocation of their tax-exempt statuses on the basis of their financial support of” the National Students for Justice in Palestine (NSJP) group.

The senators noted that one nonprofit, AJP Educational Foundation, was already under investigation.

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares (R) opened an investigation into the group, also known as American Muslims for Palestine, in October for potential violations of the state’s charitable solicitation laws or for “providing support to terrorist organizations.”

The letter said that in the past, the IRS has revoked nonprofits of their tax-exempt status when organizations have “planned activities that violate laws” or engage in activity that could induce crime.

“We should not need to remind you of the heinous support NSJP chapters across the country have voiced for Hamas, a U.S.-designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO),” the letter said.

The senators noted that support for NSJP has “exploded” in recent weeks, with pro-Palestine protests over the ongoing war in Gaza occurring at more than 400 college campuses nationwide. Students are calling on their universities to divest from Israeli companies or companies that supply Israel with weapons in its fight against Hamas.

“In light of this abhorrent support for an FTO, we call on you to initiate an investigation to determine whether financial supporters of NJSP … have engaged in conduct warranting their tax-exempt status to be stripped.” the coalition wrote in the letter, specifically calling out AJP, the Westchester Peace Action Committee Foundation and the Tides Foundation.

The group said they hope to hear back from the IRS by May 23.

Ernst shared the letter in a post on social platform X, saying “any organization enabling activity that violates the law should lose their tax-exempt status.”

The letter is signed by Ernst, along with Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy (La.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Markwayne Mullin (Okla.), Roger Marshall (Kan.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Mike Crapo (Idaho), Dan Sullivan (Ark.), James E. Risch (Idaho), John Thune (S.D.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Mitt Romney (Utah) and Katie Britt (Ala.).

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