New U.S. Anti-Terrorism Guidelines for Charities and Nonprofit Organizations

October 12, 2006

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued updated anti-terrorism guidelines for U.S.-based charities and nonprofit organizations. The U.S. Department of the Treasury Anti-Terrorist Financing Guidelines: Voluntary Best Practices for U.S.-based Charities, released September 29, is intended to help charities assess and develop their internal controls and protective measures to avoid involvement in terrorist support networks. The guidelines detail steps charities should take to improve their governance, accounting practices and transparency.

According to the Treasury, the new guidance is "based on the ongoing threat to well-intentioned charitable works globally." The Treasury has focused on maintaining a dialogue with charities, including those in the Arab-American and Islamic-American community, on the threat of charities’ misuse by terrorist organizations. The guidelines are voluntary, and do not amend or supersede existing statutes and regulations governing charities. 

In November 2002, the Treasury issued the original set of guidelines to help the charitable sector protect against their potential abuse by terrorist groups and their support networks. The new guidelines incorporate comments from the charitable sector collected since the opening of a comment period in December 2005. Many of these comments emphasized anti-terrorist financing guidance, and guidance on sound governance and financial practices. The new guidelines’ focus on these areas reflects the concerns charities expressed. 

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