Aug. 4, 2004 – The American Civil Liberties will lose charity funding when it withdraws from a government program that requires participating organizations to check its employees against a terrorist watch list. Initially, the civil rights group adhered to the plan and was accused of hypocrisy since they are primary critics of the Patriot Act and other Bush administration efforts to fight the "war on terrorism."
The ACLU is in effect turning away $500,000 in charitable contributions from military personnel and federal employees, managed by the Combined Federal Campaign. In a letter to Campaign director Mara Patermaster, ACLU Executive Director Anthony Romero said, "It is increasingly clear that the Patriot Act and the government's 'war on terror' are threatening the ability of America's non-profit charities to do their essential work."
The ACLU claimed they believed they did not have to cross check employees with the list, or they never would have agreed to it. Then, in an interview with the New York Times, Patermaster said the ACLU could be excluded from the program for "violating the government's policy." Soon after, ACLU announced its withdrawal from the program.