CIR’s Will Evans tracks a controversial DVD about radical Islam for the Secret Money Project. Here’s the trailer of the DVD, which appeared as an insert in newspapers across the country:

The blogosphere is alive with the sound of buzz—all about an inflammatory DVD on radical Islam being distributed to millions of households at the peak of election season.

Critics are calling the DVD, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” anti-Muslim hate, or politicking, or both. It doesn’t mention or even obliquely allude to the presidential candidates. It couldn’t, since it was made in 2006. But as whisper campaigns dog Obama with rumors that he’s a secret Muslim, the DVD showed up as an insert in some 70 newspapers, with an emphasis in swing states.

The obvious question: Who is behind it?

And the answer: The DVD is distributed by the Clarion Fund, a nonprofit set up by the film’s producer, Rabbi Raphael Shore. But not much is known about the group. It’s a 501(c)(3) charity, which means it can’t engage in partisan politics.

It did apparently have material on its Web site supporting John McCain, but then took it down.

Clarion has connections to Aish HaTorah, a strongly pro-Israel Jewish educational organization promoting Jewish identity and pride. Aish HaTorah has offices in Israel and the U.S.

Clarion’s corporate filings in Delaware list the same address as Aish HaTorah New York. Clarion’s two directors in 2006 were Shore and Jacob Fetman, who served as Aish’s CFO. In 2007, the organization listed its directors as Shore, Henry Harris and Rebecca Kabat. Rabbi Harris is educational director at Aish HaTorah NY and Kabat has also worked for Aish.

Shore himself has worked for Aish HaTora. He told the Washington Times in 1992 that he “went to Israel 10 years ago to try to ‘rescue’ his twin brother, Ephraim, from Aish HaTorah,” because he though it was a “big hoax.” Instead, Shore became convinced and joined the organization’s management. (Their other brother, David, created Fox’s TV show “House.”)

Aish’s Ephraim Shore has also been president of the organization HonestReporting.com, which, according to Aish’s Web site, helped to produce and promote Raphael Shore’s film.

But don’t ask where the Clarion Fund gets its funding. It’s not telling. And with its 501(c)(3) status, it doesn’t have to.

This originally appeared on The Secret Money Project Blog, a joint project of CIR and National Public Radio tracking the hidden cash in the 2008 election.

Will Evans is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal, covering labor and tech. His reporting has prompted government investigations, legislation, reforms and prosecutions. A series on working conditions at Amazon warehouses was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize and won a Gerald Loeb Award. His work has also won multiple Investigative Reporters and Editors Awards, including for a series on safety problems at Tesla. Other investigations have exposed secret spying at Uber, illegal discrimination in the temp industry and rampant fraud in California's drug rehab system for the poor. Prior to joining The Center for Investigative Reporting in 2005, Evans was a reporter at The Sacramento Bee. He is based in Reveal's Emeryville, California, office.