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U.S. Treasury Issues Updated Guidelines to Help Protect Charitable Giving From Illicit Abuse

Revised version of the Guidelines released for public comment

Posted: December 6, 2005

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued revised Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines, Voluntary Best Practices for U.S.-based Charities (Guidelines) to help the charitable sector protect itself from abuse by terrorist organizations. Treasury is releasing for public comment this revised version of the Guidelines to ensure the greatest benefit to the sector, as well as effective application.

"Charitable giving is an act ingrained in the culture of America, and the people of this country give selflessly to vast vital causes. Sadly, terrorist networks and their sympathizers have preyed upon this goodwill to raise and move money in support of their deadly agendas," said Patrick O'Brien, the Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing and Financial Crime.

In November 2002, the Treasury issued the original Guidelines, and since then, the Treasury has worked hand-in-hand with the U.S. charitable and donor community, notably the Arab-American and Islamic-American community, to raise awareness of terrorist abuse and the steps charities can take to protect themselves. Strengthening and revising the Guidelines is an important part of this effort and will further benefit the sector.

While the Guidelines are voluntary and do not supersede or modify legal requirements, they promote the development of a risk-based, transparent approach to guard against the threat of diversion of charitable funds for use by terrorists and their supporters.

"Indeed, in the wake of natural disasters like the earthquake in Pakistan, the tsunami in southeast Asia, and the hurricanes in the Gulf Coast of the United States, we must ensure that charitable donations go to the legitimate causes they were intended for," said O'Brien.

The Guidelines issued today immediately replace the original Guidelines, although the Treasury will consider all comments received on or before February 1, 2006 in finalizing the revised version. Please submit comments through one of the following methods:

Mail:
Office of Terrorist Financing and Financial Crime
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Facsimile:
(202) 622-9747

Electronic Submission:
http://www.treas.gov/offices/enforcement/key-issues/protecting/charities-intro.shtml

A copy of the draft Guidelines may be accessed through this link:
http://www.treasury.gov/offices/enforcement/key-issues/protecting/docs/guidelines_charities.pdf


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