Tags: fbi | russia | ngo | nonprofit

Report: At Russia's Request, FBI Probed US Nonprofit in 2004

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By    |   Monday, 26 December 2022 12:04 PM EST

The FBI investigated an American nonprofit at the request of the Russian government without any allegations of criminal activity, according to FBI documents seen by The Washington Times.

The probe into the MacArthur Foundation is more than 18-years old. The documentation shows the FBI did the bidding of Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD).

Cato Institute senior fellow Patrick Eddington, who obtained the records in a lawsuit against the bureau, called the probe "completely insane."

"The FBI should never have been, or ever be, in the business of being an errand boy for a hostile foreign power's internal security or law enforcement organizations absent a clearly defined and stated criminal predicate," Eddington said.

In May 2004, Russia requested information confirming the existence of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as well as information on the transfer of $4.5 million in grants to Ukrainian citizens.

"We would like to ask you to request the U.S. law enforcement authorities to confirm or refute the existence of [this] foundation, and if it exists — confirm the legal nature of transactions whereby the funds were transferred to Ukrainian citizens," wrote a Russian official to the U.S. government.

The MacArthur Foundation is a Chicago-based NGO founded in 1970 well-known for its philanthropic endeavors. It has an endowment of $7 billion supporting journalism and social causes like justice, climate change, and nuclear risk in roughly 50 countries around the globe.

It opened an office in Moscow in 1992 and sought to help the nation transition to democracy after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Still, the FBI's Chicago office was tasked with Russia's request to confirm the nonprofit's existence and determine its transfer of funds.

The MacArthur Foundation has cooperated with the FBI. It indicated that it did not know how Russia learned the exact amounts of its disbursements.

"The MacArthur Foundation does not know how the MVD ... derived their dollar amounts relative to the grants in question," wrote an FBI official in a May 2005 record. "All grants are processed through the main office at Chicago, Illinois, USA, where a database with records of all grants from the inception of the Foundation are maintained."

In Aug. 2005, the FBI sent Russia's Ministry of Internal Affairs the results of the "good standing" investigation.

The FBI gave the Russians documents collected from the foundation, providing details of grants to various people, including precise dollar amounts and transaction dates. Details of the recipients' names were redacted.

"I hope this information helps your investigation and apologize for the time it took to obtain it," an American official wrote to the Russian government.

General counsel to the foundation, Joshua Mintz, verified its work with the FBI in a statement saying the MacArthur Foundation was unaware it was ever under investigation.

"In general, we strive to respond to reasonable requests for information from governmental entities that are otherwise publicly available or from other pertinent sources in response to the legal process," Mintz said. "We responded to a reasonable request from the FBI regarding grants we made, which are public knowledge and included in our tax returns."

Regardless of no criminality found, the FBI investigated the MacArthur Foundation.

"The FBI Chicago Division conducted an investigation relative to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Chicago, IL, USA in response to the MVD's request for assistance," reads an FBI record released to the Cato Institute.

More information about the federal government and its agencies will come to light after the House flips to Republicans when the new Congress convenes in January. The majority plans to put the FBI in its crosshairs.

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The FBI investigated an American nonprofit at the request of the Russian government without any allegations of criminal activity, according to FBI documents seen by The Washington Times.
fbi, russia, ngo, nonprofit
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2022-04-26
Monday, 26 December 2022 12:04 PM
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