Black Lives Matter 'delinquent' on financial disclosures, risks tax-exempt status, California AG warns: report

Black Lives Matter Global Network has tens of millions of dollars in the bank, it said in impact report published in early 2021

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The California attorney general is warning Black Lives Matter Global Network that the state may revoke its tax-exempt status and charge late fees to the group's leaders if they don't provide financial records to the state.

The Washington Examiner obtained a letter from Attorney General Rob Bonta warning that "the organization BLACK LIVES MATTER GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION, INC. is delinquent with The Registry of Charitable Trusts for failing to submit required annual report(s)." for the 2020 tax year.

"An organization that is delinquent, suspended or revoked is not in good standing and is prohibited from engaging in conduct for which registration is required, including soliciting or disbursing charitable funds," the letter published by the Washington Examiner continued.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. Bonta sent a letter to Black Lives Matter Global Network warning the group it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status, according to a report. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

California Attorney General Rob Bonta speaks at a news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. Bonta sent a letter to Black Lives Matter Global Network warning the group it is at risk of losing its tax-exempt status, according to a report. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File) ((AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

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The letter was dated Jan. 31, 2022, and published by the Examiner Tuesday. It said the group could get back in good standing with The Registry of Charitable Trusts by paying a renewal fee and turning in its IRS 990 form detailing its financial activities, along with a similar state-issued renewal report. 

Neither Black Lives Matter nor the California Department of Justice immediately responded to requests for comment from Fox News. 

At the end of 2020, Black Lives Matter said in an impact report that it raised $90 million, spent $8.4 million in operating expenses, distributed $21.7 million in grants to 33 other organizations, and closed the year with a $60 million balance. 

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The group's 2019 IRS 990 report, which was filed in Oct. 2020, showed no revenue, expenses, or assets whatsoever before 2020 began. This is likely because, as the Washington Examiner reported, Black Lives Matter was not officially registered as a charity with the IRS until late 2020, and before that it funneled donations through other liberal charities. 

No 990 report is available on the IRS website for Black Lives Matter in the 2020 tax year, though it typically takes a year or more after the end of a year for such reports to become publicly available. It is not clear whether Black Lives Matter failed to file a 990 form with the IRS or if it simply neglected to provide a copy to California, as the state's law requires.  

The letter from Bonta, published by the Examiner, warned that if Black Lives Matter does not cure its records with the state, that individual leaders will be held "personally liable for payment of all late fees" for "each month or partial month for which the reports are delinquent." 

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"Charitable assets cannot be used to pay these avoidable costs," the letter published by the Examiner continued. "Accordingly, directors, trustees, officers and return preparers responsible for failure to timely file the above-described report(s) are personally liable for payment of all penalties, interest and other costs incurred to restore exempt status."

But it's not clear who would be liable for those fees, as its founder Patrisse Cullors stepped down last year and the people she appointed to succeed her never came to an agreement on taking the job. 

According to the right-leaning charity watchdog Influence Watch, it is not clear who leads Black Lives Matter Global Network.