Observations On What Appears To Be An Epic Black Lives Matter Scandal

I will only offer observations at this point because there are so many questions to be asked that it’s premature to say exactly what happened, or in Ethics Alarms-ese, “What’s going on here?’ I stumbled across this current story by accident, while preparing a preliminary outline and seminar description for a program I’ll be doing as I have been for two decades for the annual Washington Non-Profit Legal and Tax Conference in March. What recent non-profit and charity ethics problems have arisen in the last year or so? And up popped the jaw-dropping message above.

What that statement, which was posted last September, suggested was that nobody was running the non-profit arm of Black Lives Matters, which has received about $60 milllion in contributions since the group grabbed the opportunity presented by the death of George Floyd, which still has never been shown to have anything to do with race. (Don’t get me started…) Naturally, this is a story that the mainstream media has no interest in enlightening the public on, but the conservative Washington Examiner broke the story at the end of last month, again. A brief summary from the article:

  • “No one appears to have been in charge at Black Lives Matter for months. The address it lists on tax forms is wrong, and the charity’s two board members won’t say who controls its $60 million bankroll”

I don’t want to be an alarmist or anything, but these are what we call in the non-profit world, “red flags.” That $60 million, incidentally, is just what BLM had received through 2020. Nobody outside the group knows what it attracted in 2021, because this hasn’t been revealed.

  • BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, you may recall, came under criticism after the New York Post reported last April that Cullors, then its executive director, had spent $3.2 million on real estate purchases in upscale neighborhoods. Ethics Alarms also covered the story

It is also a red flag any time the head of charity who is also a selfless social activist goes on a spending spree.

  • Cullors got out, as they say, “while the gettin’ was good,” in May, though there may be investigations and more on her horizon. As the head of a non-profit, she had fiduciary duties to the organization, its mission and its donors to make certain of a smooth transition of leadership. As that message above indicates, she ignored them. Maybe she didn’t know what they were. She appointed two activists to serve as the group’s senior directors following her resignation, but they announced in September that they never took the jobs due to disagreements with Black Lives Matter. They told the Washington Examiner that they don’t know who now leads what the paper called “the nation’s most influential social justice organization.”  This left, and leaves, the foundation “like a giant ghost ship full of treasure drifting in the night with no captain, no discernible crew, and no clear direction,” as CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron described it.

This is not, I will tell the non-profit lawyers in March, any way to run an ethical charity.

  • Themba and Bandele say that they do not know who took over as BLM’s top executive after their departure, and would not tell the Examiner who served on the council. The two remaining BLM board members, Shalomyah Bowers and Raymond Howard  have not responded to inquiries regarding who has been in charge of BLM and its money since Cullors left the charity in May. 

Uh-oh.

  • The IRS granted BLM tax-exempt status in December 2020, enabling the group to operate as a charity independent of its former fiscal sponsors. BLM’s 2020 Form 990 tax return  was due to the IRS in November, but hasn’t been filed. When the Examiner reporter attempted to request BLM’s 2020 Form 990 in person at the charity’s office in Los Angeles, which the group told the IRS was where its financial records are kept  in previous filings,  a security guard said that was never been a BLM office at the location.

At the risk of being repetitive, “Uh-oh.”

  • An unidentified BLM spokesperson told the Examiner that the group does not currently maintain a “permanent office.”

The other metaphorical shoes started dropping last week.

  • Black Lives Matter shut down  its online fundraising streams last week after California threatened to hold the charity’s leaders personally liable over its lack of financial transparency. Another deadline is approaching for filling that 990, and the BLM board members—if there are any board members—face personal liability.

Notes Legal Insurrection’s Mike LaChance:

My guess is that the leaders of BLM thought they were above reproach because, for the most part, they have been for years. Unfortunately for them, non-profits in the United States have to follow strict rules and protocols for reporting all monies going in and out.

They should also be made aware that accusations of racism mean nothing when you’re being audited.

You can detect the fear of treating BLM like any other non-profit that beahved like this in the comments of charity expert Doug White, quoted by the Examiner. He feels compelled to say, “What BLM does is of tremendous social importance” to immunize himself from the racism accusations. Promoting anti-police hate, anti-white racism and lies about police shootings is of tremendous social importance, Doug? I did not know that…

Now my guess is that BLM has run though all of Eric Hoffer’s stages of cause corruption in record time. The common condensed version of his famous observation is “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” I think that’s giving BLM too much credit, as it began as a racket, but never mind. I’ll wait for the results of the audit.

Things do not, however, look good.

I think I’ll print out this post and stick it on the huge BLACK LIVES MATTER display that has been out in front of a neighbor’s house for almost two years. After all, she has a right to know what she’s promoting.

 

16 thoughts on “Observations On What Appears To Be An Epic Black Lives Matter Scandal

  1. “like a giant ghost ship full of treasure drifting in the night with no captain…”
    Ghost ship, maybe, but he “treasure” has almost certainly leaked out and will require serious salvage efforts to locate. It’s no wonder some people don’t want to be caught at the helm when authorities start searching the hold.

  2. Oh my. Having just ranted about LGBTQ I have to take on Black Lives Matter?

    I will say this: You can count on the IRS. Having worked for most of my professional career with non-profits, I know that the IRS doesn’t care about your politics; what it does care about, if you have the temerity to file as a non-profit (which BLM waited until 2020 to do), you’d better have your ducks in a row, and file your paperwork on time. The IRS, for good or ill, serves itself, not a president, a political party, the news media, or the nation.

    It resents being used, I understand, which makes it all the more frightening. Too bad, BLM!

  3. Well, it couldn’t have happened to nicer people. Though, with the IRS Tea Party scandal mentioned, I’m sure the Biden Administration can influence the IRS to take it easier on BLM. They’re a good cause, you know. Mercy for my friends, the law for my enemies. I think they can work it out with fines, settlements, and other non-invasive solutions. What kind of message would it send to the public, incarcerating people of color, etc. We’re trying to end systemic racism, not ensconse it!

  4. The IRS was weaponized by President Obama, and now his Vice President is President; a man who says he wants to give billions of dollars and much more authority to the IRS.
    His Vice President participated in GoFundMe-esque drive to raise money to bail rioters out of jail so they could rejoin the BLM ‘protests.’ If the IRS gives BLM a pass, I’m sure that it will all be on the up & up.

  5. Audit the firms that donated millions and deny the deductions as well. I bet Coca Cola would not want to face a 300K tax hit for its donation.

  6. Meanwhile, in this weekend’s WSJ Magazine, Cullors was a featured interviewee (along with Samantha Bee – go figure) who answered the question: “What does ‘focus’ mean to you”. Her predictable response:

    “Traveling an unpopular path, I’ve often felt, Is it worth it? Should I just give up on my ideas? What I’ve recognized as someone who has seen the change you can make through an abolitionist lens—that focus is so worth it. I’m trying to take a new approach to abolition; it’s about recreating our relationship to punishment. It’s about redefining humanity and grounding ourselves in love, dignity and care. The focus of our ancestors—like Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Ida B. Wells— is the only reason we’re having this conversation today. I see myself as part of a long legacy of individuals who stayed focused and were able to get rid of one of the most heinous systems, chattel slavery. It’s my job to focus on getting rid of mass incarceration, so a new generation can take the torch and get us closer to freedom.”

    The online article didn’t allow for any comments. Naturally.

    • This is how we have an ailing society, when Cullors is a prominent public intellectual. What slimy grifter. Say what you will about Ibram X Kendi, but he earned he is an honest grifter.

  7. Oooh! I wrote about this too, back in April of 2021:

    https://humbletalent.substack.com/p/marxism-in-2021

    “Fact of the matter is that Patrisse Cullors, who self identifies as a “Trained Marxist” has undergone a multi-million dollar real estate binge in the last couple of weeks, using money that came from the BLM charity organization. Now, I made the mistake of calling that “embezzlement” at one point: That’s inaccurate and hyperbolic. Because she and co-founder Alicia Garzia could set financial policy for the BLM organization, it’s MUCH more likely they simply gave themselves seven figure salaries, or bonus plans. Regardless on the legality of those remuneration packages, there is approximately a zero percent chance that the people donating to BLM did it so that the founders could become millionaire real estate moguls.

    My point was that Marxism seems, for whatever reason (and I have opinions on why, but they aren’t relevant), to be particularly susceptible to corruption. Reality is that every time someone attempts to actually follow through on a Marx-based system, human corruption takes root and you end up with some of the shittiest despotic systems in modern recorded history. you end up with Gulags, bread lines, economic and intellectual stagnation and loss of human life.”

    The “for whatever reason” that I bolded there: I think the reason that Marxism is susceptible to corruption is that the people aren’t actually Marxists. They aren’t true believers in community or solidarity, or rising the tide that actually raises all ships. They’re just envious. They see people around them that have more than what they have, and the feel that they should have it. They don’t particularly care why or how or where it comes from, they just want more, and they see Marxism (or whatever ad-libbed in grift they devise) as the path to that personal betterment. Once they actually get into a position where they can better themselves, they do it, because that was always their goal.

    The BLM charity is a great case in point: Two classically trained Marxists start a charity that they don’t really have the experience to run as a charity, tens of millions of dollars pour in, the owners go on multi-million dollar real estate binges, take some treasure for themselves, tap the next two people in the breadline and fuck right off. You can tell from the fact patterns coming out that the Charity was never actually devised to act as a charity. No offices, no contacts, no middle management… They built no infrastructure because the infrastructure wasn’t the point, the point was the paycheques, and the intended parties got paid.

    The people involved had an entire year with which to plunder the coffers and despite donation bumps that would have happened during the Chauvin trial, I think that there’s a high probability that there’s significantly less left in the org than we think.

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