The Biden campaign over Halloween weekend released a list of bundlers who have raised at least $100,000 for the campaign, and the list includes the head of pro-Iranian organizations that Republican senators say should be investigated as foreign lobbyist groups.
The list of campaign bundlers included Jamal Abdi, who is the president of the D.C.-based National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and executive director of its sister organization, NIAC Action.
NIAC describes itself on its website as “a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization founded in 2002 to give voice to the Iranian-American community.” The group worked to get the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known colloquially as the Iran nuclear deal, adopted during the Obama administration.
NIAC Action describes itself as a 501(c)(4) organization that “primarily focuses on nonpartisan education and advocacy on important national issues.” NIAC Action has a political action committee that is “dedicated to electing Iranian Americans and allies who are committed to advancing peace and diplomacy, preventing war and inhumane sanctions, securing equitable immigration policies, and protecting civil and human rights.”
The PAC’s website states: “NIAC Action PAC supports candidates who will champion our legislative priorities by preventing war with Iran and working to end Donald Trump’s ban on our families.”
Earlier this year, Republican Sens. Tom Cotton (AR), Mike Braun (IN), and Ted Cruz (TX), wrote a letter to Attorney General William Barr, urging the Justice Department to investigate NIAC and NIAC Action for potential violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
The senators said in a statement announcing the January 13, 2020, letter that NIAC “purports to improve understanding between American and Iranian people but in reality seems to spread propaganda and lobby on behalf of the Iranian government.”
“Such activities may violate the Foreign Agents Registration Act, which requires those lobbying on behalf of a foreign principal to disclose their activities,” they said.
Their letter asked the DOJ to “evaluate whether an investigation of NIAC is warranted for potential FARA violations and to ensure transparency regarding foreign attempts to influence the U.S. political process.”
NIAC responded in a statement that called the accusations “slanderous.”
“The slanderous accusations from Senators Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Mike Braun have zero merit. It is yet another sign that warhawks are seeking to intimidate pro-peace voices, starting with Iranian Americans, from halting the push toward war, which Cotton and Cruz have long championed,” they wrote.