In yet another bombshell to rock embattled activist group Black Lives Matter (BLM), Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced Thursday that he had filed suit against the organization’s national arm, as suspicions grow about its use of millions in donated funds, according to Fox News.
Explaining the motivations behind the move, Rokita said, “I filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter organization to protect Hoosiers from this house of cards. BLM has concerning patterns of behavior [and] we’ll do what it takes to get to the bottom of it on behalf of generous Hoosiers who have donated to them.”
In the legal complaint at issue, Rokita asks that the organization be compelled to respond to a Civil Investigative Demand that the state already issued to BLM back in February of this year to which the group never replied, noting that despite claims from the group that it had raised over $90 million in 2020, an IRS filing from the initial half of that year showed zero information regarding revenue, expenses, or assets, as the Indianapolis Star noted.
As such, Rokita suggested, his lawsuit is meant to “ensure transparency to donors” by obtaining verification that “funds donated by Indiana residents are used for their intended purpose and not for the personal benefit of BLM directors.”
Included in Rokita’s request are tax and financial records such as IRS Form 990s for the years spanning 2017 through 2021, records of all payments made by the group since Jan. 1 of 2020, and the attorney general has further asked the court to take action against BLM if the demands are ignored, such as restraining fundraising and the ability to conduct business in the state of Indiana.
The lawsuit comes amid growing concerns over secrecy surrounding BLM’s finances spurred by revelations that the group spent almost $6 million in donated funds on a luxurious mansion in Southern California and that former executive director Patrisse Cullors purchased four other swanky properties for roughly $3.2 million.
Despite failing to disclose further information about the purchase of the $6 million estate, Cullors blasted media outlets reporting on the scandal, saying that “narratives like this cause harm to organizers doing brilliant work across the country and these reports do not reflect the totality of the movement,” according to the New York Post.
Cullors has continued to express incredulity at the notion that a nonprofit enterprise such as BLM would be expected to comply with the same rules that apply to all such organizations, declaring that the very thought of providing such standard documentation was “triggering” and “unsafe,” adding, “[t]his is literally being weaponized against us, against the people we work with.”
Regardless of BLM’s apparent belief in its own entitlement to state-sanctioned theft from well-intentioned donors, it is crucial that watchdogs such as Rokita continue to hold its leaders’ feet to the fire and obtain full accountability on behalf of supporters and skeptics alike.