Slamming a loophole in an anti-corruption law which has allowed the pro-Israel lobby to influence U.S. lawmakers, the grassroots social justice organization CodePink filed a complaint Thursday over the recent AIPAC-funded trip Democrats and Republicans in Congress took to Israel.
Forty-one Democratic lawmakers just returned from the country. Republicans are still in Israel on a trip sponsored by the American-Israel Education Foundation (AIEF), the non-profit organization created by the pro-Israel lobby group, AIPAC.
According to CodePink, the trips violate the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act (HLOGA), the 2007 law enacted to bar lobbyists and organizations that employ lobbyists from paying the travel expenses of members of Congress.
As CodePink co-founder Ariel Elyse Gold explained in a video posted to Twitter, an exception written into the law—known as the “AIPAC loophole”—has allowed the powerful lobbying group to create the AIEF and send members of Congress to Israel through the non-profit, while paying for the trip and controlling what lawmakers see while they are in Israel.
“There’s really no difference between AIPAC and their 501(c)(3), AIEF. They share millions of dollars exchanged between the two of them,” said Gold, holding a sign reading AIEF = AIPAC. “Their staff is paid by AIPAC…They’re in the same building, working off the same money. Same agenda.”
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