Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking CAIR

I posted a few weeks ago about the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and evidence gathered from the group’s annual banquet that CAIR is receiving substantial monetary support from foreign governments. In a recent article at the Big Government blog Frank Gaffney continued his examination of CAIR, demonstrating that the organization’s support base has shrunken drastically over the last few years, both financially and in terms of membership.

CAIR enjoys a prominent place as the voice of American Muslims, even though its membership has dwindled to nearly nothing. Why is CAIR still lionized by the media? And where do its operating expenses come from, if it has so few dues-paying members?

Here’s what Frank Gaffney has to say:

Last week, right after the Fort Hood shootings by Major Nidal Malik Hasan that killed thirteen people and wounded thirty, the Council on American Islamic Relations showed up on PBS and MSNBC with their three standard talking points, here paraphrased:

1. So sorry about the dead and wounded, but…
2. The media’s real concern should be the possible backlash that could maybe happen sometime against Muslim Americans… and most important…
3. IT IS FORBIDDEN to report or analyze the shooter’s jihadist motivations!

Or as Nihad Awad, Executive Director of CAIR instructed MSNBC’s Chris Matthews:

“I’m really not happy to see that his religion is becoming the subject…even if this guy uttered the words Allahu Akhbar or God is great, so what? It tells me that this is an isolated incident…We need to find out how he thinks and what he did, but I will NEVER come to the conclusion that religion is the motive…”

Media outlets like leftwing MSNBC and PBS give CAIR airtime because of the group’s claim to the title of “America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group.” But that claim rests on a smoke and mirrors illusion of political support from Muslim Americans and the U.S. Congress. That political support for CAIR seems to be diminishing and indeed nearing the vanishing point. In fact, much of their current support appears to derive from foreign sources. As a matter of stated policy, CAIR openly solicits and accepts donations from foreign embassies, foreign organizations and individuals from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and other Middle Eastern states.

However, even that foreign support can’t conceal the reality that CAIR is a rapidly shrinking organization that may be approaching obsolescence. A look at just three printed programs distributed in 2006, 2008 and 2009 to attendees at CAIR’s annual fundraisers, and their most recent publicly available IRS tax documents, shows an unrelenting downward trend in their public support over the last five years. The numbers don’t lie, and they are drawn from CAIR’s own public documents.

So you don’t have to wait for Hollywood’s remake next year of The Incredible Shrinking Man; a real-life remake is going on in Washington starring the controversial lawfare and lobbying group, The Incredible Shrinking Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Let us count the ways that CAIR is shrinking:

1. CAIR’s annual fundraisers for the national organization were reported in the most recent available IRS tax returns as unprofitable;
2. By 2006, CAIR membership had dropped to less than 10% of the membership numbers from 2000, according to the Washington Times;
3. Between 2004 and 2006, CAIR’s membership dues fell from an already surprisingly low 5% of their total revenues, to a tiny 1% of their total revenues;
4. Between 2006 and 2009, members of Congress attending CAIR’s annual fundraiser fell from 23 to 4, and FBI and Police representatives from 2 to zero;
5. Between 2006 and 2009, even the number of foreign embassies and groups attending CAIR’s annual fundraiser fell from 9 to 4.

1. The Incredible Shrinking Number of CAIR Annual Fundraiser Donations

One myth essential to CAIR’s illusion of credibility is the success of their annual fundraisers. These are depicted as well-attended affairs that raise large sums; the recent 2009 fundraiser was advertised as being “sold-out.” Never mind that a significant source of donations for these events apparently comes from foreign donors — according to the 2009 event registration form and printed programs from 2006, 2008 and 2009, even from the embassies of foreign governments.

Furthermore, CAIR’s three most recent publicly available IRS 990 tax returns show a large net loss of $107,216 in “special events revenue” for “annual dinner” in 2004 (page 11 in the pdf file) and a similar loss of $59,494 2005 (page 14), and — an alert here to agency officials — incomplete information for 2006 (page 16).

You can download the original 990 Tax Forms for 2004, 2005 and 2006 here [pdf, 2MB].

2. The Incredible Shrinking CAIR’s Declining Membership

CAIR has consistently claimed apparently inflated membership numbers in their 15 years of existence. For example, a document released January 19, 2007 claimed (page 6) that CAIR had “some 50,000 members.” The facts of CAIR’s shrinking support were presented on June 11, 2007, when Audrey Hudson of the Washington Times published an article based on tax documents showing that CAIR’s membership had dropped from a high of 29,000 in 2000 to a mere 1,700 in 2006.

You can compare the two documents: the CAIR 2007 document [pdf] claiming 50,000 members, and the 2007 Washington Times article showing 1,700 members:

And here’s the graph:

Incredible Shriking CAIR 1

And we know from their 2004, 2005 and 2006 IRS 990 tax forms (above) that their reported membership revenue fell from $119,029 in 2004 to $41,383 in 2006:
- - - - - - - - -
Incredible Shriking CAIR 2

Even more disturbing, as CAIR’s membership dues from their Muslim American supporters have drastically fallen, their reported total revenue has increased. Not that membership dues were ever a significant part of their support — between 2004 and 2006, Muslim American membership dues fell from an already tiny 5% of CAIR’s total revenue, to a miniscule 1%.

And that falling support from Muslim American members was reported before 2007 — that is, before CAIR had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism finance trial, before CAIR had been sued in 2008 by Muslim, African-American and Hispanic families for fraud in a case now on appeal, and before CAIR had ties severed by the FBI, as announced in 2009. So it’s possible the support has fallen even more in the last three years, perhaps to well below 1%.

The rest of the graphs and documents may be found at the Breitbart site.

Mr. Gaffney goes on to note:

CAIR’s annual banquets held in Arlington, Virginia are an opportunity to showcase their illusion of political power, with speakers and letters of support from Congress, the FBI and local police. But the printed programs for their annual fundraisers show that after 2006, CAIR’s reputation and power rapidly deteriorated. The result has been a prudent withdrawal of support by members of Congress and other agencies.

The decrease in congressional and governmental support can be deduced from the banquet programs for the last four years. Mr. Gaffney reports the names of the members of Congress who supported CAIR in the past, but no longer do so.

Strangely enough, support from foreign governments for CAIR has also declined, even among the members of the OIC. Since a large portion of CAIR’s funding reportedly comes from foreign countries, this decline must be devastating for the organization:

If Muslim American memberships are 1% or less of total revenue, and the annual fundraisers are reported to the IRS as unprofitable, how is CAIR funded? The Departments of Justice and Treasury know that CAIR has received foreign contributions in the thousands and even millions, since Steve Emerson, Paul Sperry, Joe Kaufman, Andrew Whitehead, the Department of Justice prosecutors, the mainstream U.S. and Arabic press and others have publicized those foreign donations and pledges for over a decade. At their website, CAIR encourages foreign embassies to purchase tables at their fundraisers, as we see in their registration options for the recent October 24, 2009 event:


Yet even this foreign support has declined as CAIR’s power has faded, from the 2006 peak of 9 embassies and foreign groups, to the recent 2009 event’s total of just 4 embassy supporters as listed in their 2009 printed program.

Is there a silver lining in this cloud? Well, CAIR can comfort itself with the knowledge that it retains the support of Libyan strongman Moammar Qaddafi, the Man of Many Spellings:

The one bit of good news for CAIR at the 2009 event — well, in addition to their announcement that their fundraiser was “sold out” — came from Libya. Not only did the ambassador himself attend the October 24, 2009 event, but “The People’s Bureau of the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” also took out a full-page ad in the printed program. CAIR can take comfort knowing that at least Muammar al-Gaddafi cares for CAIR.

This is the first in a series of reports by Frank Gaffney on the dwindling prospects for CAIR. Keep an eye on Big Government for the next installment.


Michael said...

I would think an intelligent American resident would NOT want to be seen on CAIR's membership list these days.

The time may be coming where Muslims in America may want to keep off the radar as much as possible.

Anonymous said...

If funding for CAIR is decreasing...then where is the money going instead? The foreign funding is a particularly troubling issue. Even granted that there really were large numbers of American Muslims donating to CAIR without any awareness of the true nature and goals of the organization (which I don't believe for a second), it absolutely defies logic that the foreign sponsors could ever have been in the dark as to what CAIR was.

If they are abandoning it now that too many Americans are alert to its true role, they must have found a new front for their activities. There is no other plausible explanation.