U.S. Billionaire Ronald Lauder Behind Initiative to Register Voters in Israel

The parent organization of iVoteIsrael, which calls for Israeli-Americans to participate in the U.S. presidential election, lists same suite number, office address of Lauder's foundation, 2010 tax filings reveal.

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A shadowy American organization mandated to register voters in Israel ahead of next month's presidential election has ties to American billionaire and veteran Republican Ronald S. Lauder, according to a report published by a Washington-based government watchdog.

According to a web post on Tuesday by the Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group, the not-for-profit parent organization of iVoteIsrael lists the same suite number and office address as the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation - 727 Fifth Avenue in New York City, according to 2010 corporate tax returns filed in the state of Delaware. The parent organization, "Jerusalem One," has since changed its name to "Americans for Jerusalem."

The documents also list Allen Roth, a longtime aide to Lauder and a member of the board of the Washington-based American Conservative Union, as the president of Americans for Jerusalem.

A subsequent review of the documents by Haaretz reveals that veteran Republican strategist Nelson Warfield was listed on the organization's reports as treasurer. This year, Warfield served as an adviser to the presidential campaign of Rick Perry, the Texas governor.

Ever since it burst onto the Israeli scene last June, with a poll showing that American voters in Israel favored Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney over President Barack Obama by a more than two-to-one margin, the ubiquitous iVoteIsrael has produced slick media campaigns, co-sponsored local debates and held events throughout Israel. One such event included the recent visit to Israel of Matt Brooks, Executive Director of the Republican Jewish Coalition, and former George W. Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer. But the groups has steadfastly refused to reveal who stands behind it, citing its status as a registered not-for-profit 501(c)4, which does not require it to reveal its donors.

"In consideration of our commitment to our many supporters, iVoteIsrael will not comment on reports of the specifics of its supporters," Elie Pieprz, national director for iVoteIsrael, said in statement released to Haaretz.

Haaretz attempted to reach the offices of the Lauder Foundation, which lists an address in Germany as foundation headquarters, but did not receive a reply as of press time. 

Ronald Lauder, president of World Jewish Congress, spoke at anti-BDS dinner in London in April 2014. Credit: Daniel Bar-On

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