GOP candidate Ben Carson was met with harsh criticism last month when he said that America was not ready for a Muslim president. The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a nonprofit Islamic advocacy organization better known as CAIR, responded with an attempt to knock Carson out of the presidential race. Carson now claims that CAIR broke the law.
“The Council on American-Islamic Relations held a public press conference demanding that I withdraw from the presidential race,” said Carson in an email Saturday. “Here’s the catch: CAIR is a tax-exempt nonprofit, and the IRS rules explicitly prohibit such groups from intervening in political campaigns on behalf of – or in opposition to – a candidate.”
Carson has started a petition to force the IRS to remove the group’s tax-exempt status. If Carson wins, it won’t be the first run-in CAIR has had with the IRS. The group, currently listed as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, temporarily lost its status in 2011 when it failed to file tax returns for three consecutive years.
“We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president,” was the petty, predictable reply from CAIR.
The Islamic group argues that it did not break the law because it did not “participate in or intervene in any political campaign.” CAIR claims that the press conference was simply a way for the Islamic community to express their opinions about a presidential candidate “whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution.”
Critics believe the group to be linked to terrorism and after a trial in 2007 and a conviction in 2009, it is widely believed the CAIR has ties to the terrorist group Hamas.