Black Lives Matter suspended online fundraising on Wednesday after attorneys general in California and Washington state asked the group to submit delinquent financial disclosures for 2020, according to a report.
A Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) spokesperson told the Washington Examiner, which first reported the move, that the group takes “these matters seriously” and has “taken immediate action.”
“We have immediately engaged compliance counsel to address any issues related to state fundraising compliance,” the spokesperson said. “In the interim, we have shut down online fundraising as we work quickly to ensure we are meeting all compliance requirements.”
The group shut down its fundraising one day after the Washington Examiner published a letter from California Attorney General Rob Bonta telling BLMGNF that it was prohibited from soliciting or disbursing funds because of its failure to submit an annual report for the 2020 tax year. In the letter, which was dated January 31, Bonta threatened to hold individual leaders personally liable for late fees.
Washington demanded BLM “immediately cease” all fundraising activities there on January 5.
The group said at the close of 2020 that after raising $90 million, spending $8.4 million in operating expenses and distributing $21.7 million in grants to 33 other organizations, it closed the year with $60 million. The group was not officially registered as a charity with the IRS until late 2020, according to the report. It has previously funneled donations through other liberal charities.
Meanwhile, Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has sounded alarms over BLM’s refusal to answer basic questions about its finances and operations.
“It appears that the house of cards may be falling, and this happens eventually with nearly every scam, scheme, or illegal enterprise,” the Republican attorney general told the Washington Examiner. “I see patterns that scams kind of universally take: failure to provide board members, failure to provide even executive directors, failure to make your filings available. It all leads to suspicion.”
Rokita did not confirm or deny that his office is investigating BLM but said the paper’s reporting on the group has “certainly” caused his office to be concerned.
The group’s charity registration is also out of compliance in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Virginia, according to the report.
BLM has not publicly named anyone to oversee its estimated $60 million bankroll since co-founder Patrisse Cullors resigned in May, the Washington Examiner reported. No one Cullors named to replace her ever came to an agreement with the internal leadership council, making it unclear who is in charge.
Cullors resigned from her post as executive director of Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, a role she has held for more than five years, amid questions about her finances, according to Fox News. She faced backlash after the revelation that she bought four homes for more than $3 million in recent years.
However, she told the Associated Press at the time that she was leaving her post to focus on other projects, including the release of her second book and a television deal with Warner Bros.
She said that her departure was planned for more than a year and was unrelated to any controversies over her personal finances.
“Those were right-wing attacks that tried to discredit my character, and I don’t operate off of what the right thinks of me,” Cullors said.
The organization has received criticism for its extremist views, including Cullors’s 2015 admission that she and her fellow co-founders are “trained Marxists.”
“I actually do think we have an ideological frame. We are trained Marxists,” Cullors said.