The Foundation for Global Political Exchange v. Department of the Treasury
Michael Morgenstern

The Foundation for Global Political Exchange v. Department of the Treasury

A case challenging OFAC’s suppression of the exchange of political ideas

On December 20, 2023, the Knight Institute filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Foundation for Global Political Exchange challenging the decision of the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to prohibit the Foundation from including certain individuals in the political discussions that the Foundation hosts.

The Foundation is a U.S. non-profit organization that promotes professional and academic enrichment through convenings in the Middle East and North Africa called “Exchanges.” Each Exchange involves small-group, immersive dialogues that allow participants—including journalists, human rights advocates, and government officials—to engage with and question thirty to forty of the key stakeholders from across the political landscape of a subject country. In advance of the Foundation’s January 2023 Beirut Exchange, OFAC informed the Foundation that it could not lawfully include in these discussions five prominent political figures who are designated under a U.S. sanctions regime or are members of a designated organization.

The lawsuit argues that OFAC’s decision exceeds OFAC’s statutory and regulatory authority and violates the First Amendment. It asks the court to declare that OFAC’s actions are unlawful and to stop the agency from enforcing its regulations against the Foundation for including designated speakers in its political dialogues.

Status: Complaint filed on December 20, 2023.

Case Information: The Found. for Glob. Pol. Exch. v. Dep’t of the Treasury, No. 1:23-cv-03777 (D.D.C.)

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