The Champion

September/October 2003 , Page 18 

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The president's power to seize property in the post-september 11 world: The International Emergency Economic Act

By John D. Cline

Since the September 11 attacks, the government has made increasing use of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA)1 to seize property.2 This article describes one such post-September 11 seizure under IEEPA — the government’s confiscation of the assets of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF). Two years ago, HLF was the largest Muslim charity in the United States, collecting and distributing millions of dollars annually, through corporate matching programs and other mainstream charitable methods. Today it is largely defunct. The course of the case to date demonstrates the breadth of the government’s power under IEEPA, particularly when unchecked by the courts.

IEEPA framework

IEEPA authorizes the president to block3 any property subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with two conditions. First, the President may only exercise his power under IEEPA “to deal with an unusual and extraordinary threat with respect to which a national emergency has

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