Non-profit

Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees

Website:

assinvpopactcom.org/

Location:

EL CERRITO, CA

Tax ID:

20-5516191

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $173,692
Expenses: $187,360
Assets: $82,849

Formation:

2007

Type:

Non-Profit Umbrella Organization

President:

Kamal Obeid

The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees is a nonprofit umbrella organization that financially supports a variety of controversial foreign policy advocacy groups, including many that promote anti-Israel views or support dictatorial Middle East regimes.[1]

The organization’s president, Kamal Obeid, is a board member of an organization that espouses the conspiracy theory that the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was not caused by a terrorist attack. [2]

Background

The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, located within the San Francisco Bay Area in El Cerrito, California was formed as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in September 2007. [3] The Association’s main activity consists of funding a variety of projects, which appear to function as independent organizations. Organizations funded by the association include 14 Friends of Palestine, No Tax Dollars to Israel, the Barbara J. Raskin Scholarship Fund, the Global March to Jerusalem, and the Syria Solidarity Movement. [4] Notably, many of the organizations supported by the Association espouse markedly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel views; others have expressed support for the regime of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. [5] The Association’s acronym, AIPAC, is intentionally identical to the acronym of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group. [6]

Some of the organizations associated with the Association conspicuously do not cite their affiliation with the Association in their public documents, and to that end, the Association states on the homepage of its website: “We respect the wishes of the projects to be known by their project names, and not necessarily their corporate affiliation.” [7] This practice often obscures the close relationship between many of the organizations and the Association. For instance, though the Syria Solidarity Movement does not (as of February 3, 2020) mention its relationship with the Association on its website, the name of the organization itself is registered as a trademark of the Association. [8][9]

The Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees highlights a number of its projects on its website – the International Solidarity Movement of Northern California, the Free Gaza Movement, 14 Friends of Palestine, No Tax Dollars to Israel, the Barbara J. Raskin Scholarship Fund, and the Global March to Jerusalem – North America.[10] One project not listed on its website is the Syria Solidarity Movement, which supports Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.[11]

The International Solidarity Movement of Northern California is part of an international organization designed to non-violently support Palestinians and critique Israel as “an overwhelming military occupation force.”[12] The Northern California arm hosts and promotes events to raise money for the Movement, as well as spread pro-Palestinian propaganda such as a statement from the Movement writ large calling Israel’s actions a “murderous siege.”[13] In a March 2014 column, AIPAC’s Paul Larudee described ISM Northern California as the fiscal sponsor of AIPAC’s pro-Palestinian projects.[14]

Another pro-Palestinian group backed by Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees is the Free Gaza Movement. Most known for attempting to bring aid to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip by breaking Israel’s blockade with 10 ships from 2008 to 2011, the group sparked an international outcry against Israel after its attempt to run the blockade ended in Israeli military action boarding and taking over one of the Movement’s ships.[15]

AIPAC describes the Free Gaza Movement as a group “which became independent from the Association since” 2008.[16] The Free Gaza Movement is more critical of the separation. In a statement on its site, the Movement says Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees was only involved in its first successful boat landing in August 2008, and that disagreements led to a separation of the groups shortly thereafter. AIPAC is also accused of drawing attention and funding away from the Free Gaza Movement.[17]

AIPAC also created a college scholarship for Palestinians in 2010.[18] The scholarship was closed as of March 2014.[19]

Activities

According to a supplement sent to the Ohio Ethics Commission in April 2018, longtime Democratic politician and 2018 Cleveland gubernatorial candidate Dennis Kucinich disclosed that he had received a $20,000 payment from the Association (via the Syria Solidarity Movement) in exchange for delivering a speech at a conference hosted by the European Center for the Study of Extremism in the United Kingdom. According to a report published in the Cleveland Scene, “the conference was the subject of controversy and protest,” and a petition signed by Syrian expats in the U.K. suggested that the conference functioned “primarily to spread propaganda for the Assad dictatorship.” [20] Later that April, Kucinich, citing related criticism, promised to return the full payment to the Association. [21]

The Association funds “The Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism.” Recipients of the award include controversial pundits and journalists, such as Jimmy Dore, formerly of The Young Turks, who has argued that a widely reported chemical weapons attack carried out by the Assad regime on the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhun was a “false-flag,” and that the corpses of children on the site were planted by hostile extremists. In that vein, Kim Iversen, another award recipient, has likewise posted videos to YouTube speculating, for example, that an attack on an oil tanker, widely reported as having been perpetrated by the Iranian government, was also a “false flag.” [22] Other, better-known figures, given the award include journalist Max Blumenthal and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. [23]

People

Kamal Obeid

Kamal Obeid is a structural engineer and advisory board member of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, an organization which promotes the conspiracy theory that the destruction of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 was not caused by a terrorist attack and that the “truth” was covered up by the U.S. Government. [24][25]

Paul Larudee

Paul Larudee is an Iranian-born American pro-Palestinian activist notable for cofounding the Free Gaza Movement and Free Palestine Movement. He is a frequent guest on the Iranian government’s popaganda outlet Press TV. In 2014, Larudee served as an international observer of a Syrian election in which ruling dictator Bashar al-Assad won with 88.7 percent of the vote; credible observers regarded it as a “sham election.” [26][27]

References

  1. Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, Main Website Page. Accessed February 15, 2020. https://assinvpopactcom.org ^
  2. Bischoff, Laura A. “Kucinich Discloses $20,000 Speaking Fee from pro-Syrian Group.” daytondailynews. Columbus Bureau, April 18, 2018. https://www.daytondailynews.com/news/state–regional-govt–politics/kucinich-discloses-000-speaking-fee-from-pro-syrian-group/vJz2l8yuPkunUwV6tJUHSO/. ^
  3. “ASSOCIATION FOR INVESTMENT IN POPULAR ACTION COMMITTEES.” Accessed February 3, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/205516191 ^
  4. “About Us.” Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://assinvpopactcom.org/#aboutus ^
  5. Davis, Charles. “Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right.” Bellingcat. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2019/09/30/pro-assad-lobby-group-rewards-bloggers-on-both-the-left-and-the-right/ ^
  6. Allard, Sam. “Pro-Peace or Pro-Assad? Dennis Kucinich, Richard Cordray and Attempts to Frame a “Bombshell” $20,000 Speech.” Cleveland Scene. April 20, 2018. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2018/04/20/pro-peace-or-pro-assad-dennis-kucinich-richard-cordray-and-attempts-to-frame-a-bombshell-20000-speech ^
  7. “About Us.” Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://assinvpopactcom.org/#aboutus ^
  8. “SYRIA SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT – Trademark Details.” JUSTIA. April 19, 2016. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://trademarks.justia.com/866/83/syria-solidarity-86683230.html ^
  9. Davis, Charles. “Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right.” Bellingcat. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2019/09/30/pro-assad-lobby-group-rewards-bloggers-on-both-the-left-and-the-right/ ^
  10. “Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees.” Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees. Accessed March 6, 2020. https://assinvpopactcom.org/#aboutus. ^
  11. Julie Carr Smyth, “Kucinich to return $20K to pro-Syrian government group,” April 27, 2018. Accessed February 16, 2020.https://apnews.com/a647aca197f442b5a502882d98f84f43 ^
  12. Northern California International Solidarity Movement, About Us. Accessed February 16, 2020.https://www.ism-norcal.org/about-us/ ^
  13. Northern California International Solidarity Movement, News. Accessed February 16, 2020.  http://ism-norcal.org/ismtour2018/ism-tour-news/  ^
  14. Paul Larudee, “How much do you know about ISM-Northern California?,” March 2014. Accessed February 16, 2020. https://www.ism-norcal.org/Newsletter/ISM_News_V11_No1_Spring_2014_COLOR.pdf ^
  15. BBC News, “Mavi Marmara: Why did Israel stop the Gaza flotilla?,” June 27, 2016. Accessed February 16, 2020. https://www.bbc.com/news/10203726 ^
  16. Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees, Main Website Page. Accessed February 16, 2020. https://assinvpopactcom.org/ ^
  17. FreeGaza Movement, Separation Notice. Accessed February 16, 2020. https://www.freegaza.org/separation-notice/ ^
  18. The West Bank Diaries, “Scholarship fund to benefit university students in Hebron, Palestine,” January 12, 2010. Accessed February 16, 2020. http://westbankdiaries.blogspot.com/2010/01/scholarship-fund-to-benefit-university.html ^
  19. Paul Larudee, “How much do you know about ISM-Northern California?,” March 2014. Accessed February 16, 2020. https://www.ism-norcal.org/Newsletter/ISM_News_V11_No1_Spring_2014_COLOR.pdf ^
  20. Allard, Sam. “Pro-Peace or Pro-Assad? Dennis Kucinich, Richard Cordray and Attempts to Frame a “Bombshell” $20,000 Speech.” Cleveland Scene. April 20, 2018. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.clevescene.com/scene-and-heard/archives/2018/04/20/pro-peace-or-pro-assad-dennis-kucinich-richard-cordray-and-attempts-to-frame-a-bombshell-20000-speech ^
  21. Michel, Casey. “Kucinich says he’ll return money from pro-Assad group—but won’t apologize for taking the funds.” ThinkProgress. April 27, 2020. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://thinkprogress.org/kucinich-will-return-money-from-pro-assad-group-d273ce72b593/ ^
  22. Davis, Charles. “Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right.” Bellingcat. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2020.

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2019/09/30/pro-assad-lobby-group-rewards-bloggers-on-both-the-left-and-the-right/ ^

  23. “Laureates.” Serena Shim Award. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://serenashimaward.org/laureates/ ^
  24. Davis, Charles. “Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right.” Bellingcat. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2020.

    https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2019/09/30/pro-assad-lobby-group-rewards-bloggers-on-both-the-left-and-the-right/ ^

  25. “Kamal Obeid, S.E., Structural Engineer.” Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. Accessed February 3, 2020. http://www0.ae911truth.org/27-home/carousel/103-carousel-2-in-nec-sapien-mauris-14.html ^
  26. Davis, Charles. “Pro-Assad Lobby Group Rewards Bloggers On Both The Left And The Right.” Bellingcat. September 30, 2019. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2019/09/30/pro-assad-lobby-group-rewards-bloggers-on-both-the-left-and-the-right/ ^
  27. “Contributor: Paul Larudee.” Huffington Post. Accessed February 3, 2020. https://www.huffpost.com/author/paul-larudee ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: January - December
  • Tax Exemption Received: September 1, 2007

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Jan Form 990 $173,692 $187,360 $82,849 $200 N $152,719 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2017 Jan Form 990 $134,999 $95,075 $86,060 $200 N $138,009 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2016 Jan Form 990 $96,437 $88,096 $58,221 $200 N $92,750 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2015 Jan Form 990 $170,882 $172,685 $40,978 $0 N $166,126 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Jan Form 990 $114,091 $114,852 $48,247 $0 N $128,416 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Jan Form 990 $154,082 $81,893 $80,293 $4,479 N $162,494 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Jan Form 990 $141,801 $158,861 $62,721 $59,096 N $147,784 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Jan Form 990 $289,271 $288,212 $146,646 $61,697 N $287,736 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Association for Investment in Popular Action Committees

    405 VISTA HEIGHTS RD
    EL CERRITO, CA 94530-6505