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GREGORY TOSI: Giving The Secretary Of State More Power Could Seriously Backfire

The shocking attack by Hamas against innocent Israelis on October 7th of last year has reignited concerns about terrorism and the threat to American lives and interests.

Naturally, policymakers in Washington are looking for ways to limit the resources available to terrorists. But in one case, lawmakers are going too far.

A good faith bill has been introduced in Parliament that would strip the tax-exempt status of charities that the Secretary of State deems to support terrorist activity. The bill gives the Secretary of State extraordinary and potentially dangerous powers. (Related article: Shoshana Bryan: The outcome of Biden's Iran policy is now clear)

invoice, HR6408passed a bill that would “revoke the tax-exempt status of any organization that provides funding or resources to designated terrorist organizations.” Passed the House of Representatives It is pending consideration in the Senate and should not become law.

This move sounds reasonable on its face. But it isn't, given how President Joe Biden's Justice Department has blatantly used prosecutorial power for political purposes. Exhibit No. 1: The federal indictment against former President Donald Trump.

While HR 6408 is framed as an anti-terrorism bill, it could lead to a similar expansion of executive branch power. The bill would allow political appointees to designate organizations they disagree with as “terrorist supporting organizations” without seeking any certainty or clarity about what is or is not terrorist. In the hands of a single political actor, this unlimited discretion could be used as a cudgel against political opponents.

Any domestic political group whose members do something the Secretary of State doesn't like could be threatened with significant and costly sanctions. This is the America no one wants.

An exaggeration? Not at all. The Federal Bureau of Investigation lists various US-based groups as supporters of domestic terrorism simply because they question the legitimacy of government actions and government intrusion into the private lives of Americans. Among them are civil society groups with conservative tendencies that simply disagree with Democratic Party orthodoxy.

Federal authorities Warned They warned financial institutions that “Americans who have voiced opposition to gun control, open borders, COVID-19 lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and the 'Deep State' may be potential domestic terrorists.” They distributed a list of groups, including Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, Liberty Counsel, Pacific Justice Institute, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which advocate conservative positions on public policy and have no ties to terrorism.

Another example: According to the House Judiciary Committee, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis shared intelligence with financial institutions that was used to identify individuals who fit the profile of “domestic violent extremists” because they often held conservative political views.

If HR 6408 becomes law, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken It gives them the power to harass opposition organisations who ask too many uncomfortable questions. This is a grave abuse of power. First Amendmentguaranteeing the right to freedom of speech.

He has already signaled his willingness to do so. Linked Disinformation about Hunter Biden's laptop, including a letter signed by 51 former intelligence officials debunking the Russian disinformation campaign against Hunter Biden and his laptop.

Neither Secretary Blinken nor any other Secretary of State should be given arbitrary power to revoke the tax-exempt status of entities with which they disagree.

U.S. law already prohibits organizations from supporting terrorism, and the federal government can identify and prosecute these groups.

The Biden Administration doesn't need new, untested powers that it can use to arbitrarily attack conservative groups it doesn't like. While HR 6408 is well-intentioned, it should not become law without significant changes to protect Americans from government abuses of their rights.

Gregory Tosi is a former senior congressional staffer and frequent commentator on public policy issues.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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