January 13, 2021 – Biden nominates Samantha Power to head USAID and faces congressional scrutiny for lobbying to remove terror group from sanctions list

In Email/Dossier/Govt Corruption Investigations by Katie Weddington

Samantha Power (Credit: The Associated Press)

“The Biden administration’s nomination of Samantha Power to head the United States Agency for International Development is facing congressional scrutiny amid allegations the former Obama administration’s United Nations ambassador personally lobbied to remove a terror-designated group from the U.S. sanctions list.

A series of redacted emails obtained by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa) as part of an investigation into a nonprofit group that granted U.S. taxpayer funds to the Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), a terror-tied charity sanctioned by the American government, allegedly show that Power was “involved in efforts to delist ISRA from the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) list” during her time as the U.N. ambassador, according to a letter Grassley sent last month after Power was nominated for the USAID job.

Jeremy Weinstein, Power’s then-deputy, petitioned top OFAC officials “to initiate a formal review” of the related terror designations “without a formal request” from the charity itself. Initiating a review in this manner is highly unusual, according to current legal statutes. Those familiar with the matter said that under normal circumstances the charity itself would have to petition the U.S. government to review its case.

Delisting ISRA would pave the way for it to again receive U.S. taxpayer dollars from USAID and other government agencies. It also would serve as a sign to the international donor community that it can resume sending ISRA money, despite outstanding concerns it is still working with designated terror organizations, as cited by the U.S government in its original designation.

Grassley demanded that Power provide him with further information about the 2015 emails regarding ISRA’s status and explain “why you would take an interest in advocating on behalf of a foreign sanctioned entity.” The senator asked for this information by March 4, but Power has yet to respond, according to sources familiar with the matter.” (Read more: The Washington Free Beacon, 3/08/2021) (Archive)