‘Deeply troubling’: Biden sent more cash to terrorism-linked NGO after watchdog launched probe

The Biden administration again awarded taxpayer dollars to a non-profit group months after the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) quietly launched an investigation into previous government funding to the NGO, which it suspected was linked to terrorists.

“Sources familiar with the situation say the U.S. Agency for International Development‘s inspector general began investigating last February a $110,000 USAID grant issued in 2021 to Helping Hand for Relief and Development, a Michigan-based charity that lawmakers have warned shares ties to terrorists, including Pakistan’s Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation,” the Washington Examiner reports. “Still, in October 2023, USAID dished out another $78,000 to that same charity for a program running until September, according to federal spending records.”

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According to a former high-ranking USAID official, “It’s very telling they opened an investigation into a grant of that size.”

“It shows they are concerned it could go to bad guys,” the official told The Examiner. “It indicates something smells very rotten.”

The outlet reports:

News of the investigation, which has not been publicly reported, comes on the heels of the House Foreign Affairs Committee calling on USAID Administrator Samantha Power in January 2023 to suspend the agency’s 2021 grant to HHRD over “credible allegations” that the nonprofit group “is associated with designated terrorist organizations.” The panel’s chairman, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), told the Washington Examiner the agency “finally conducted proper due diligence to review” the grant.

However, that initial USAID review found further vetting was warranted, and the inspector general’s office later met with lawmakers while beginning the process of investigating both HHRD and reports from a Philadelphia-based think tank called the Middle East Forum on the charity’s terrorism ties, according to sources familiar. A senior GOP aide close to the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the HHRD situation shows USAID grants have long required more rigorous congressional scrutiny, emphasizing, “We’ve found a lot that doesn’t pass muster.”

HHRD has been on Republican lawmakers’ radar for years.

Founded in 2005, the organization claims to be “committed to serve humanity by integrating resources for people in need.”

“We strive to provide immediate response in disasters, and effective Programs in places of suffering, for the pleasure of Allah,” HHRD states on its website.

It “works globally with special focus in countries where the majority of the population is living below the poverty line.”

“Our partners range from small community support groups to national alliances and international relief organizations,” it notes.

Those partners include, among others, the Department for International Development (DFID), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

“In recent years, GOP lawmakers, including Reps. Jim Banks (R-IN) and Scott Perry (R-PA), have raised concerns over HHRD organizing a 2017 conference in Pakistan alongside Falah-e-Insaniat, an arm of the Lashkar-e-Taiba foreign terrorist organization, and also the group’s affiliation with Jamaat-e-Islami, an international Islamist group that committed genocide and other crimes during the 1971 Bangladeshi War of Independence,” the Washington Examiner reports.

The Examiner continues:

Jamaat-e-Islami counts its “welfare arm” as Alkhidmat Foundation Pakistan, which listed HHRD as a donor on its website, records show. Alkhidmat has boasted about wiring funds to Hamas, which Jamaat-e-Islami is reportedly rallying to support after the Palestinian terrorist faction’s Oct. 7, 2023, attack on Israel.

Banks authored a resolution in 2019 that urged USAID and other agencies to halt any partnerships with HHRD, which he dubbed a “domestic affiliate” of Jamaat-e-Islami. Moreover, the Indiana Republican asked law enforcement to investigate HHRD, which the State Department has praised in brochures. In 2019, a Pakistani-American man named Fareed Ahmed Khan was found guilty by a Connecticut jury of making false statements to the FBI, including about his relationship with HHRD and its affiliated Islamic Circle of North America, in connection to a terrorism financing investigation.

“Now, USAID’s inspector general aims to confirm whether agency cash to HHRD may have found its way to any U.S.-designated terrorist organizations,” according to The Examiner. “The office has full statutory law enforcement authority and subpoena power — and it could loop the Department of Justice into the HHRD investigation if it determines that the group provided material support to terrorism.”

The American taxpayer dollars gifted to HHRD were earmarked for USAID’s Ocean Freight Reimbursement Program (OFR).

According to USAID, OFR “is the oldest ongoing Private Voluntary Organization (PVO) support program, allowing recipients to ship a wide variety of goods overseas for use in privately funded development and humanitarian assistance programs.”

“Participants in the program this year include the New York-based Hadassah, a major Jewish volunteer group, the Christian humanitarian aid group World Help, the American Committee for Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, and dozens of others. Grants ranged from $6,000 to $90,000 in 2024,” the Washington Examiner reports.

Biden admin funneling more than a billion taxpayer dollars to keep mass migration headed north: report https://t.co/yRvvrrAGmA via @BIZPACReview — BPR based (@DumpstrFireNews) February 2, 2024

Cliff Smith is the Washington Project Director at the Middle East Forum. He warned that HHRD is not your average charity and said it should not be receiving federal funding.

“HHRD’s affiliations with various terrorist groups and extremist movements, particularly in the Kashmir region of Southeast Asia,” Smith said, “is deeply troubling.”