The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC, ) is a lobbying group that advocates pro-Israel policies to the Congress and Executive Branch of the United States. The current President of AIPAC is Robert Cohen. Describing itself as “America’s Pro-Israel Lobby”, AIPAC has more than 100,000 members, seventeen regional offices, and “a vast pool of donors.” It has been called “the most important organization affecting America’s relationship with Israel,” and one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States. The group does not raise funds for political candidates itself, but helps organize to channel money to candidates. Its critics have stated it acts as an agent of the Israeli government with a “stranglehold” on the United States Congress with its power and influence. The group has been accused of being strongly allied with the Likud party of Israel, and the Republican Party in the US, but an AIPAC spokesman has called this a “malicious mischaracterization.” AIPAC describes itself as a bipartisan organization, and bills it lobbies for in Congress are always jointly sponsored by both a Democrat and Republican. In 2005, a Pentagon analyst pleaded guilty to charges of passing US government secrets to two AIPAC staffers in what is known as the AIPAC espionage scandal. Both staffers were later fired by AIPAC. In 2009, all charges against the former AIPAC employees were dropped.