By Peter Flaherty for RealClearPolitics
After leaving his victims with shattered dreams and millions in collective financial loss, legendary con artist Charles Ponzi observed with casual cruelty, “Even if they never got anything back, it was cheap at that price.”
There is something of that same unrepentant sentiment in the selective silence of once-loquacious corporate boardrooms and national media pundits.
His unwillingness to demand accountability and transparency from the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, a $90 million organization that publicly promised social justice to its millions of small donors and corporate benefactors, including Facebook, Google and Twitter, after the death of George Floyd, makes them helpers and accomplices of the BLMGNF’s questionable leadership and violations of the law.
On January 5, Washington State Attorney General Robert Ferguson issued a “Closure Notice” demanding that the BLM “immediately cease” all fundraising activities, because it failed to file its annual financial report for the fiscal year. 2020, which expires last November.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta followed suit a few weeks later, threatening to hold individual leaders personally responsible for late payment charges. Despite these clear directives, the BLMGNF continued to fundraise until reports last week exposed its blatant violations.
According to those reports, the group’s charity registry is also out of compliance in Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina and Virginia.
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita says the BLM’s refusal to answer basic questions about its finances and operations raises serious, even fundamental, questions about its mission, purpose and ultimate legitimacy.
“It appears that the house of cards may be falling, and this happens eventually with almost every scam, scheme or illegal enterprise,” the Republican attorney general told reporters. “I see patterns that scams universally adopt: not providing board members, not even providing CEOs, not making their files available. Everything leads to suspicion.
BLMGNF founder Patrisse Cullors, an outspoken Marxist who once called for an “end of Israel” during a Harvard panel discussion in 2015, resigned from her position as CEO of the BLM money machine last May, with more of $60 million in his coffers, ostensibly to focus on his second book and a television deal with Warner Bros.
But revelations about his personal finances, including buying four houses totaling more than $3 million, were more likely the reasons for his sudden withdrawal from the spotlight. This news sparked criticism from local black activists, such as a black mother whose son was killed by Los Angeles police: “Black lives don’t matter. Your pockets matter,” she stated.
“You all walk into our lives and act like you’ve got our back and want to say, ‘Black Lives Matter.’ But after we bury our children, we don’t see B, L or M, but all of you here buying properties.”
Speaking of buying properties, we know where at least some of the $60 million went. He transferred to BLM Canada to buy a $6 million mansion in Toronto, the former headquarters of the Communist Party of Canada. It seems that BLM is going back to its roots.
However, there is the possibility of a much bigger scandal. When Cullors resigned last May, he handed over leadership to two associates. But then they released a statement saying they never took over as no agreement was reached on their roles. Such a change in management requires the approval of the organization’s board of directors, not a unilateral decision by a resigning executive director.
Who is in charge exactly? Who is on the board? Where are the minutes of the board meetings? Where is a certified independent audit of your finances? Sixty million dollars is a lot of money, and nobody can say what happened to it. There is more transparency and accountability in the operation of a local Girl Scout chapter.
That is why the National Law and Policy Center, an ethics watchdog group, has filed formal complaints with the California and Washington attorneys general to conduct a full investigation of the BLMGNF’s finances and impose criminal penalties if warranted.
Long ago, Ralph Waldo Emerson wisely advised those with virtue up their sleeves. “The louder I spoke of his honor,” Emerson observed of a certain questionable guest at his home, “the faster we counted our spoons.” The recent revelations of a lack of accountability regarding the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation are timely reminders that corporate sponsors and the elite media need a little more “spoon counting.”
Distributed with permission from Real Clear Wire.
Peter Flaherty is the president of the National Law and Policy Center.
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