IRS Launches Attack Aimed at Silencing Progressive Faith-Based Civil Rights Organization
As some of you know, since March 2011, just six months after the passing of our founding director Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., the IRS began to conduct an audit of our organization. We have learned that the audit was in fact triggered by letters written by Congressional Representatives Brad Sherman (D-CA) and Sue Myrick (R-NC) (now retired) to the Commissioner of the IRS, the US Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, alleging that IFCO “may be raising funds for Hamas”, (an organization designated as terrorist by the US government).
This is a blatantly false allegation. IFCO is being persecuted because in 2009 we agreed to serve as a fiscal sponsor to the US component of the project Viva Palestina. Viva Palestina, is a UK-based charity organization that provides food, medicine and essential goods and services needed by the civilian population [of the occupied Palestinian Territories], and that highlights the causes and results of wars with a view to achieving peace.
In addition to condemning IFCO for its support of Viva Palestina, the IRS has also attacked our years of solidarity work with Cuba. In both instances our legal advisors, in the Appeal, have eloquently described the work we have historically done to advance the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination. The Appeal proves that the projects we support and operate have faithfully furthered our mission and our organization’s tax-exempt purpose (as was originally described).
An Attack Against IFCO and An Attack Against Us All
This IRS attack against IFCO is an attack against faith-based and progressive community-based programs that we have supported since our inception more than 45 years ago.
In addition to our fiscal sponsorship of Viva Palestina and our Cuba Solidarity work, the IRS has found fault with programs aimed at promoting universal healthcare and a project of young people working to transform blighted urban landscapes into models of community-based, social and environmental sustainability, using community organizing, artistic expression, and urban agriculture.
An attack against IFCO is an attack against the more than thirty different community-based programs we support through our fiscal sponsorship work.
As an organization that has historically engaged in social and spiritual activism, we believe that anything that produces terror, fear, or panic can indeed be described as terrorism. Especially when the end result is political repression aimed at controlling or suppressing political opposition.
As a result, we reject the IRS’ accusation that we are doing business with a so-called terrorist organization. It is time for all social and spiritual activists to reclaim the narrative; to accurately define terrorism.
ll Every year 15 million children die of hunger.
ll As many as 20.5 million Americans live in extreme poverty
ll Nearly 50 million people across the United States do not have medical insurance.
Il 100,000 people in the US die each year from prescription drugs
In reality, aren’t these all forms of terrorism? If you agree then we need your help fighting this attack aimed at shutting down an organization that has historically worked to advance the struggles of oppressed people for justice and self-determination.
For nearly five decades, IFCO has demonstrated with actions our commitment to administer true justice, to show mercy and express compassion. When you visit our website you will see the list of unique, progressive and diverse grassroots organization that we have supported through our fiscal sponsorship program. When you support IFCO you support these groups dedicated to community empowerment and engaged in the struggle against human and civil rights injustices.
We are counting on your support!
Once again, we need your help!
Here are 3 immediate steps you can take to assist us in this struggle:
- Contact your Congress Members (Senator and Representative) and let them know that we need their support. Ask them to contact the IRS Commissioner John Koskinen and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew and ask them to stop this political persecution and harassment against IFCO.
- Contact the IRS Commissioner and the Secretary of Treasury yourself and request them to stop the political persecution and harassment against IFCO.
- It is the height of hypocrisy for the US government to renew its attack on IFCO on the heels of the historic visit of Pope Francis who plead for the nations of the world to work together on behalf of the human family.
- This attack by the US government makes no sense in light of the significant moves of both the Obama and Castro administrations to normalize relations.
- Denounce this threat against IFCO – one of the nation’s oldest faith-based civil rights organizations and the first ecumenical foundation founded by and for people of color.
- To stop bullying IFCO for helping the people of Cuba and allow us to continue our life-saving humanitarian work.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen
Large Business and International Division
1111 Constitution Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20224
Phone: (202) 515-4400
(Please note: some who have called have said they have been directed to: 202-317-8989)
Fax: (202) 622-5756
Secretary of Treasury Jacob J. Lew
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220
Phone: (202) 622-2000.
Fax: (202) 622-6415
Send an online fax at http://www.gotfreefax.com
Please be sure to email us and tell us what happened.
- We desperately need your financial support to help cover our legal expenses.
Please send your check payable to IFCO to:
418 West 145th Street
New York, NY 10031
o Visit us at www.ifconews.org and make a secure donation on line (click on the Donate
o Or call our office (212-926-5757) to make your donation by phone. We need your help to
spread the word about this attack. Ask your networks to help publicize this attack against
We know that you have always supported the mission of IFCO.
We are now asking that you, your house of worship or your organization to act quickly before the ruling becomes final.
Yours in love and solidarity,
“Love your neighbor as yourself”– Torah: Leviticus 19:1
“And what will explain to you what the steep path is? It is the freeing of a (slave) from bondage; or the giving food in a day of famine to an orphan relative, or to the needy in distress. Then will he be of those who believe, enjoin fortitude and encourage kindness and compassion.” Koran: Chapter 90, Verses 12-17
“The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Bible: Mark 12:31
“Let me say, at the risk of seeming ridiculous, that the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love.” Ernesto Che Guevara.