Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Two Think Tanks Targeted by Pro-Israel Group for Improper PPP Loan

Here is more from Politico:

The Middle East Institute plans to settle a lawsuit alleging the think tank obtained a pandemic relief loan under the Paycheck Protection Program for which it was not actually eligible, according to court filings unsealed last week (h/t our Kyle Cheney). The Zionist Advocacy Center, a litigious pro-Israel advocacy group run by attorney David Abrams, brought a qui tam, or whistleblower, complaint in December 2021 under the False Claims Act to challenge a $359,000 PPP loan MEI received earlier that year.

MEI isn’t the only firm facing consequences for PPP’s political prohibition. In December, PR firm MikeWorldWide, run by Democratic fundraiser Michael Kempner agreed to pay back $2.3 million in PPP loans that it was ineligible for due to being a registered foreign agent. The Institute for Policy Studies reached a deal in June to pay more than $500,000 to settle a lawsuit that was also brought by TZAC alleging fraudulent receipt of a PPP loan.

The Institute for Policy Studies has long been critical of Israel, while MEI has received funding in recent years from the governments of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Libya, according to disclosures — all of whom, with the exception of the UAE and Bahrain, still have no diplomatic relations with Israel.


The Zionist Advocacy Center (TZAC) has historically challenged the tax exempt status or federal funding to nonprofits and other organizations that have done charitable work with Palestinians, notes Politico.