Trump administration alumni at America First Legal (AFL) representing Rep. Ronny Jackson (R-TX) won a court order forcing the Biden administration to disclose how American taxpayer money is funding Hamas terrorists at war with Israel.
Jackson represents the 13th congressional district of Texas, in the northern part of the Lone Star State. He is a retired rear admiral in the U.S. Navy and a doctor who served as White House physician for Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.
Jackson’s lawsuit focuses on the so-called “Pay to Slay” program in which the Palestinian Authority pays the families of terrorists who kill civilians, both Israelis and others. His lawsuit is brought under the Taylor Force Act, named after an American soldier killed by one such terrorist. That soldier’s parents are co-plaintiffs alongside Jackson in the lawsuit, which was originally filed in December 2022, long before the war started with Hamas’s October 7, 2023, terrorist attack on Israel.
Trump signed the Taylor Force Act into law in 2018. In that statute, Congress found that, “The Palestinian Authority’s practice of paying salaries to terrorists serving in Israeli prisons, as well as to the families of deceased terrorists, is an incentive to commit acts of terror.”
WATCH — EVIL: See the Aftermath of Hamas Attack on an Israeli KINDERGARTENJoel B. Pollak / Breitbart News
AFL’s motion was prompted by a document that surfaced as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) production, referencing an application to spend taxpayer money:
Specifically, the production includes emails and “a license application to OFAC [the Office of Foreign Asset Control] seeking authorization to conduct official USG [United States Government] activities in the West Bank and Gaza that might otherwise be prohibited by CT [counterterrorism] sanctions regulations.”
Some of the money from these payments inevitably goes to members of various terrorist groups, including Hamas. Under the Taylor Force Act, the Palestinian Authority forfeits eligibility for U.S. foreign aid if it continues its Pay to Slay program, which according to the lawsuit it continues to do.
The lawsuit also alleges:
On March 16, 2022, defendants [President Joe Biden and Secretary Anthony Blinken] announced “significant increases” in Economic Support Fund assistance, from $75 million in [Fiscal Year 2021] to $219 million in [Fiscal Year] 2022 for assistance that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority by … relieving it of its civic and governance obligations.
AFL filed a motion seeking discovery. Specifically, the motion sought to compel the Biden administration to divulge certain documents on foreign aid payments, attempting to confirm, among other things, that American tax dollars are in fact going to Hamas.
The motion goes on to argue:
These records are direct evidence that the Department of State knew that its [Economic Support Fund] funding and related activities in the “West Bank” and Gaza benefit Palestinian terrorist organizations and violate U.S. anti-terrorism laws and regulations, thereby increasing the risk of terrorist attacks against the Plaintiffs and others similarly situated.
“Congress criminalized providing benefits to [Foreign Terrorist Organizations] precisely because such benefits make terror attacks more likely to occur,” AFL argued in a legal brief accompanying the motion.
When the Biden administration opposed the motion by arguing that Hamas is different from the Palestinian Authority, AFL responded that their examination of records thus far “demonstrates that the government considered the consequences of dumping American taxpayer dollars into the West Bank and Gaza and concluded that there is a ‘high risk’ Hamas will benefit.”
Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk noted AFL’s assertion in Jackson’s brief, which had been filed in August prior to the terrorist attack, that the Biden administration’s “admission that its activities in the West Bank and Gaza benefit Hamas suggests, with reasonable particularity, the possible existence of other facts, currently hidden, establishing traceability” of Biden’s funding to the Palestinians and increased risk of terrorist attacks.
“These reasons, in concert with Hamas’s recent attack on Israel that killed fourteen Americans and resulted in others being held hostage, provide a sufficient basis for [Jackson’s] request,” Kacsmaryk wrote in the days after Hamas’s attack, granting the motion.
AFL’s lawsuit on behalf of Jackson and the Force family seeks to freeze all Economic Support Fund grants to the Palestinian Authority.
The case is Jackson v. Biden, No. 2:22-cv-241 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Breitbart News senior legal contributor Ken Klukowski is a lawyer who served in the White House and Justice Department. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) @kenklukowski.