'Black Lives Matter' Accused of 'Clear Violation of IRS Rules,' Charity Status Reportedly at Risk
New concerns are being raised over the actions of the organization that raises money to promote the message that black lives matter.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the charity that represents the national BLM movement, has been beset with questions over what it is doing with millions of dollars in donations.
Reflecting widespread dissatisfaction with how the organization was accounting for what it took in, what it was spending and who was overseeing the money, the website CharityWatch last month wrote, “It is extremely concerning that the national public charity entity of arguably the largest social justice movement in the United States has not done a better job of communicating its financial activities to the public in a timely manner or of adequately addressing other questions related to its governance.”
Concerns led Amazon to remove the group from its charity platform as multiple states banned the foundation’s activities because it did not comply with the rules. As of Thursday, Washington, which ordered BLM to “immediately cease” its activities, was joined by New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia in banning the group from raising money, according to the Washington Examiner.
The outlet reported Friday that new concerns arose this week after Black Lives Matter sent a message to its supporters that called for support for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and included a button to donate to the charity.
The button, however, goes to the Black Lives Matter PAC, the group’s affiliated political action committee.
“BLM PAC is preparing for the most critical midterm election yet. Every single race is an opportunity to build Black political power,” the fundraising page linked in the message said.”If you’re ready to continue the electoral fight for Black lives, chip in to our efforts and start building for the 2022 midterms.”
Using a charity to solicit political donations “appears to be a clear violation of the IRS rules prohibiting charities from soliciting contributions to a political action committee,” Paul Kamenar, an attorney for conservative watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center, told the Examiner.
The agency that sent the message said it was all just a mistake.
“During a recent email send, Fireside Campaigns inadvertently included a fundraising link to a non-fundraising email. We take full responsibility for this error,” said Brad Bauman, managing partner and CEO of Fireside Campaigns.
An IRS presentation posted on its website makes very clear that it is illegal for a charity to solicit money for a partisan political group.
From the perspective of CharityWatch, the Black Lives Matter foundation is a vexing problem because little of what it claims to do can be verified.
“For example, in its 2020 Impact Report, BLMGNF states that it has ‘committed to 30 local organizations and BLM chapters approximately $21.7 million.’ This statement does not say that these funds have actually been distributed to the chapters, and the term ‘committed’ is not defined to communicate if and when such distributions have or will take place,” the organization said.
“An adequate analysis of BLMGNF’s independent audited financial statements and tax filings could shed more light on which chapters received support, when they received it, and in what amounts, as well as the central organization’s other financial activities,” CharityWatch said.
“The same is true for many other ‘impact’ claims BLMGNF made in its 2020 Impact Report — verifying these requires an independent analysis of the charity’s audited financial statements and tax filings, which BLMGNF has thus far not been willing to provide to CharityWatch.”
The watchdog group noted that at the same time the national headquarters of the movement said that money was flowing out to communities, those allegedly on the receiving end told a different story.
“To the best of our knowledge, most chapters have received little to no financial support from BLMGN since the launch in 2013,” a local chapter was quoted as saying. “It was only in the last few months that selected chapters appear to have been invited to apply for a $500,000 grant created with resources generated because of the organizing labor of chapters.
“This is not the equity and financial accountability we deserve.”
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