An IRS filing released Tuesday by the Black Lives Matter Global Foundation (BLMGF) revealed that a large portion of the group’s revenue was spent on lobbying Congress on a number of issues, including pressure on lawmakers to move forward on the impeachment of former President Donald Trump.
The 63-page Form 990 covers the fiscal year from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, and indicates the group had $42 million in net assets at that time, the Daily Mail reported.
In addition to lobbying for impeachment following the Jan 6. Capitol riot, the group also sought to influence votes on the BREATHE Act, which would abolish the Drug Enforcement Agency and end life sentences. They also used funds to rally members of Congress against the George Floyd Act, which they say did not go far enough in their efforts toward police reform.
Neither bill has passed at this time.
Although non-profit groups such as BLMGF are allowed to lobby Congress to some degree, certain IRS rules will not allow any “substantial” portion of the group’s activities to be directed at lobbying.
The filing showed the group spent 3.4 percent of its $37 million in expenses last year on lobbying, while the bulk of it was spent on real estate, grants and consultants, the outlet reported.
According to a board member, the group has an annual operating budget of $4 million.
The filing also revealed that Patrisse Cullors was the sole voting director at the time and that no board meetings were ever held. She is listed an uncompensated founder and executive director but stepped down in May of 2021 after allegations of financial improprieties surfaced.
One of the purchases in question is the $6 million dollar California compound in Studio City which appears to be not much more than a party palace.
Cullors continues to deny claims that she used funds from BLMGF for her own personal use.
According to the tax filing, she used charity funds to pay her friends and family large sums of money for various “consulting” roles.
The Daily Mail listed some of the recipients:
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors received $120,000 for ‘consulting fees’ and reimbursed BLM $73,523 for a charter flight.
She denies taking money from BLM for personal matters and says all purchases – including a lavish $6mm LA home – were legitimate.
The father of Cullors’ child, Damon Turner, was paid nearly $970,000 to help ‘produce live events’
Her brother, Paul Cullors, received more than $840,000 for providing security services to the foundation.
Fellow BLM director Shalomyah Bowers was paid more than $2.1 million for providing operational support.
The current board members say everything is above board.
“This 990 reveals that (the BLM foundation) is the largest black abolitionist nonprofit organization that has ever existed in the nation’s history. What we’re doing has never been done before,” said Shalomyah Bowers, who currently serves as the group’s board secretary.
“We needed to get dollars out to grassroots organizations doing the work of abolition, doing the work that would shift the moral tide of this world towards one that does not have or believe in police, prisons, jails or violence,” he said.
“Our firm stepped in when Black Lives Matter had no structure and no staff,’ he said. ‘We filled the gap, when nothing else existed. But let me be crystal clear, there was no conflict of interest.”
Bowers is one of three current board members of BLMGF along with communication professional Cicley Gay and ‘DZhane Parker, a member of BLM’s Los Angeles chapter.
“We are decolonizing philanthropy,” Gay said. “We, as a board, are charged with disrupting traditional standards of what grant making in philanthropy looks like. It means investing in black communities, trusting them with their dollars.”
The filing does not reveal the names of the group’s donors.
“Transparency and accountability is so important to us, but so is trust,’ said Gay, the BLM foundation chair. “Presenting (donor) names after the fact, at this point, would likely be a betrayal of that trust.”
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