Indiana AG Files Lawsuit Against Black Lives Matter Foundation

Co-Founder claims funds disclosure leads to trauma
By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
April 29, 2022Updated: May 18, 2022

Todd Rokita, the Attorney General of Indiana, has filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation (BLMGNF) as part of an ongoing investigation of the organization’s fund management.

Rokita’s petition, filed on April 26, asks the court to enforce a civil investigative demand (CID) that his office had issued to BLMGNF in February. The CID was issued as part of the AG’s investigation opened earlier this year to determine whether the group’s actions related to fundraising constitute a violation of the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act or the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.

“Protecting Indiana consumers from this house of cards is critical,” Rokita said in an April 28 statement. “There are concerning patterns of behavior from this organization, and we will do what it takes—including this lawsuit—to get to the bottom of it.”

According to a 2020 report by BLM, it had raised more than $90 million in donations for the year. The organization distributed around $21.7 million to 30 entities and affiliated chapters, including one in South Bend, Indiana. An IRS filing by BLM showed that it carried $0 in assets, revenue, and expenses for the first half of 2020.

The AG’s office is seeking documents and relevant information to ensure that funds donated by citizens have been used for intended purposes, and not for the personal benefit of BLM directors. If the organization refuses to comply with the CID order, it could be subject to sanctions as per state law.

“There are many Indiana stakeholders and donors who have been impacted by these allegations. This lawsuit will allow for a court to swiftly and efficiently resolve the state’s request for information,” Rokita added.

The petition asks the court for an injunction restraining the organization from fundraising in Indiana as well as suspending its rights to do business in the state if BLMGNF does not comply with the investigative demand.

BLMGNF co-founder Patrisse Cullors was in charge of the foundation in 2020. She was eventually forced to resign in May 2021 amidst criticism over a lack of financial transparency.

An April 14 report by the New York magazine highlighted the organization’s purchase of a 6,500-square-foot estate in California back in October 2020 worth $5.8 million. Cullors called the report a “racist and sexist” attack on the BLM movement.

At a recent event, Cullors insisted that activists suffer trauma when charities under their control are made to disclose what they did with public donations.

“This doesn’t seem safe for us, this 990 structure — this nonprofit system structure,” Cullors said, according to the Washington Examiner. “This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with.”