The “tragedy of capitalism”? BLM faces growing questions over millions of donations – JONATHAN TURLEY

Below is my USA Today column on the Black Lives Matters financial and tax status investigations. As these investigations grow, co-founder Patrisse Cullors is should speak out in favor of defunding the school police in Los Angeles. Many, however, are still seeking answers about Cullors’ time at BLM and what happened to the millions of corporate and citizen donations.

Here is the column:

The California Department of Justice recently issued a notice to Black Lives Matter not only that it was in violation of the state’s failure to disclose financial records law, but also that its management could be personally liable for resulting fines for failing to account for $60 million in donations.

Indiana also wonders organization, and Amazon has BLM donations suspended due to concerns over the management and reporting of donations by group management.

The problem is to determine who is the management of an organization plagued by internal conflicts, resignations and scandals.

The move, however, highlights a stark contrast to how state officials have treated BLM as opposed to much more aggressive efforts targeting organizations like the National Rifle Association. New York seeks to disband the NRA for some of the same allegations made against BLM, including the use of funds by BLM officials for personal gain.

The dangers of growing too fast

Businesses are often warned about the the dangers of growing too fast. It may seem counterintuitive, but success can lead to serious problems if growth exceeds capacity or production. BLM is a case study of this danger. After the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020, businesses moved frantically to establish their status as anti-racism organizations. BLM has become the vehicle for this corporate good faith.

Millions of dollars poured into BLM coffers as mentions of the organization adorned everything from NFL helmets to corporate websites. BLM executives received lucrative corporate deals, including co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who signed a contract with Warner Bros. to help guide and develop programming on its platforms.

It was a sudden and ironic change for an organization that continues to support boycotts of white-owned businesses. Cullors insisted that she and her BLM co-founder “are trained marxists. We are very versed in ideological theories in a way. she denounced capitalism worse than COVID-19. Yet companies like Lululemon have been rushing to find their own”social justice warrior” while selling leggings for $120 apiece.

None of these corporate sponsors seemed as interested in tracking the millions donated to BLM as they were in publicizing their donations. Indeed, when some began to wonder about the Cullors buying luxury homes, Facebook and Twitter censored them. BLM itself has denounced criticism such as “white supremacistsfor questioning how those millions were spent.

However, BLM itself seemed to be run like a Trotskyist academic study group despite its long list of corporate sponsors.

Cullors stepped down last year as executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, and there were other resignations that left the band effectively headless. These resignations may have been linked to the New York Post revelation that BLM Global Network transferred $6.3 million to Cullors’ wife, Janaya Khan, and other Canadian activists for buy a mansion in toronto in 2021.

According to the Washington Examiner, BLM PAC and a Los Angeles-based prison reform group paid Cullors $20,000 a month. He also spent nearly $26,000 on meetings at a luxury resort in Malibu in 2019.

There is a circular element to these payments. Reform LA Jails, chaired by Cullors, received $1.4 million, of which $205,000 went to the consulting firm owned by Cullors and his wife, according to New York review.

When Cullors stepped down, two people were supposed to take over as executive directors – Makani Themba and Monifa Bandele. However, neither took office, and both said they don’t know who runs BLM.

Two other people stay on the board – Shalomyah Bowers and Raymond Howard.

A victim of capitalism

It’s unclear if there’s a trend in these payouts because BLM has no declaration product 2020a Form 990, as required by federal law.

Even the release of a letter from the California Department of Justice is a surprising move given BLM’s inviolable political stance. However, that still leaves a contrast to how Democratic prosecutors have treated another politically active organization, the NRA.

In New York, Attorney General Letitia James is still seeking to disband the NRAwhich she called “terrorist organization.” The disbandment effort is based on the use of private aircraft donations and personal benefits from NRA officials.

James, however, has not cracked down on organizations like the National Action Network, which has been accused of donating millions to founder Al Sharpton in special offers or expenses. James also did not sue BLM over special ops reports.

I would oppose an effort to disband the BLM, just as I oppose efforts to disband the NRA. However, the privileged status granted to BLM by the media, corporations and state regulators has magnified the organization’s problems. There are also obvious freedom of expression and association issues raised by these selective or patchwork enforcement policies.

Cullors once said that “although COVID-19 disease is tragic, what is more tragic is capitalism.” BLM’s leadership could be precisely the tragedy of capitalism it has described.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University and a member of the USA TODAY Board of Contributors. Follow him on Twitter: @JonathanTurley

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