Who would have thought that Black Lives Matter was a scam?
Back in the summer of 2020, when the movement by that name was sweeping the nation in a wave of violence, intimidation, and arson, an organization by that name was poised to cash in. And oh boy, cash in it did.
According to its first-ever public tax disclosures, filed just a few years late, the BLM Global Network Foundation took in $77 million in 2020. Where did it go? More than $969,000 went to the father of the child of Patrisse Cullors, the organization's then executive director and co-founder. Her brother's company received an $841,000 payout. The group paid nearly $2.2 million to a consulting firm owned by one of its board members. It famously paid $6 million for a mansion in Los Angeles's Studio City neighborhood, which Cullors then used for personal purposes. Last July, it also shifted $8.1 million in cash to a Canadian subsidiary to purchase a Toronto property.
That's all separate from Cullors's own $3.2 million real estate binge, whose exposure prompted her to resign her position with the organization. She insists that that money did not come from the charity's funds. Maybe she was just independently wealthy when she started there because according to the tax filings, she did not receive any salary for her work as executive director.
BLM's finances are a disaster well beyond that. Form 990 shows multiple contracts, which somehow add up to more than a million dollars in a single year, vaguely described as related to tech support. And although a $700,000 media budget might seem less unreasonable, just think about it for a second — have you ever seen or heard an ad by this organization?
Less than one-third of the global foundation's funds went to any sort of charity that actually does anything, good or bad, beyond shuffling money to other organizations. Now, in this regard, it may not be so different from a lot of other low-quality charities. But the apparent self-dealing and corruption appear to be on a hideously massive scale. Obviously, further investigation is needed into this charity's finances. If such great conflicts of interest are openly admitted, then what might they be hiding? Criminal referrals may already be appropriate, but this is just the beginning.
One of the worst aspects of this fiasco is the extent to which wokeness and intimidation helped some very terrible people take advantage of some other very terrible people — the cowards who manage corporate America. In 2020, it was all the rage to shovel money out the door at anyone who could plausibly sell them a racial indulgence. Then, they found this perfectly named organization. It was a match made in hell.
Shareholders should question the competence of anyone involved in the decision to donate to this completely unvetted organization, apparently just because of its name. Note that at the time in question, this global group had failed to file any of its required annual tax disclosures. Why? Because Cullors finds the charitable disclosure system to be "triggering." What a surprise that is.
There are many scammy left-wing organizations out there — the Southern Poverty Law Center, for example. But most of those at least seem like they're doing something besides enriching their officers. They produce a product in the form of activism and literature. You may not approve of the American Civil Liberties Union, especially now that it has rejected its entire history and turned against civil liberties and the First Amendment, but at least the organization does more than just embezzle its own money. It files legal briefs and sends lawyers into courtrooms.
Nobody can even say for sure what the global foundation does — except buy mansions and create drama. The leaders of local BLM chapters complained bitterly in late 2020 that little or none of the money was trickling down to their activism and that there was no accountability for the national group's finances.
Even so, the most disgraceful spectacle of all was the manner in which the group attempted to intimidate black journalists who were asking legitimate questions. Some of them have rightly pushed back — and hard.
Everyone interested in equality and racial harmony, including those who strive to reform education and even those who embrace the far-left vision that BLM purported to promote, should be dismayed by the waste of resources. Every dollar that went to BLM could have gone instead to some worthy historically black college, education reform organization, or job-training program. It could have been invested in violence reduction programs or in helping single black mothers with their material needs so that they have options beyond abortion.
Instead, the stewards of corporate America's money blindly gave to an organization whose financial mess is only now being laid bare.