Leadership Conference Letter to Secretary Yellen

View a PDF of the letter here.

June 17, 2024

The Honorable Janet Yellen
Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Ave. NW
Washington, D.C. 20220

Dear Secretary Yellen,

On behalf of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 240 national organizations committed to promoting and protecting the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States, I write to share our grave concerns with the May 14, 2024 letter to you from the chairs of the U.S. House of Representatives Committees on Oversight and Accountability and Education and the Workforce, which requests “all suspicious activity reports generated in connection to any of the organizations enumerated in their letter or any officer or employee of said organizations.”

In addition to being an overly broad request, this letter contains harmful allegations not supported by objective evidence and is an abuse of 31 CFR § 1010.950(c), which does not contemplate the political purposes this request embodies. Given the complete absence of evidence to support this request, the letter underscores the appearance of a witch hunt that harkens back to some of Congress’s most disturbing times of overreach to criminalize or blacklist viewpoints, beliefs, and experiences different from their own.

To see a request for investigation of organizations that are disproportionately Arab American, Jewish, and Muslim-led or identified non-profits, invokes a pernicious past in violation of rights protected by the U.S. Constitution, in which nongovernmental organizations were subject to surveillance and allegations of disloyalty because of their membership. The fact that other entities were included does not affect the clear implication of the letter that the Department of Treasury may or should serve to silence adherence to opinions unpopular with members of any Congressional majority or minority.

We urge you to not comply with this overly broad request and to uphold the Constitutional rights of our fellow Americans and the principle of equal treatment before the law. The tools of government should never be used to silence opposition to any political agenda and should never serve the interests of bullies and bigots.


Maya Wiley
President and CEO