By Washington Examiner
To say that people “celebrated” Tax Day this week would be a bit misleading. Between the fact that taxes in general are simply too high and that the tax system remains too complicated even after the salutary 2019 tax reform, taxes are a subject that some people might even call “triggering.”
But should you really be triggered by the fact that there are tax laws everybody has to follow or that government has a legitimate claim to part of what you earn each year?
This appears to be the case with the Black Lives Matter organization, a tax-privileged 501(c)(3) corporation. Last week, its former leader, Patrisse Cullors, complained about the need for financial accountability in the nonprofit sector, speaking as if it is some kind of racist conspiracy that all 501(c)(3) organizations are required to file Form 990 to show where their donations went. She even claimed that the financial transparency that the IRS requires of tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations is “unsafe” for her and other activists.
“This doesn’t seem safe for us, this 990 structure — this nonprofit system structure,” Cullors said at a recent event. “This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with.”
The plot thickens still further because of Cullors’s own conduct. She resigned from the BLM organization in May 2021 under scrutiny for her personal real estate purchases. Just this month, it emerged that there was another major purchase. BLM bought a $6 million mansion in Los Angeles in October 2020, which it concealed from its donors for the next 19 months. The transaction appears to violate federal tax law, according to a complaint filed by the National Legal and Policy Center.
Cullors has since attempted to explain the situation with what appears to be a false claim. Speaking to a group of black journalists, she said the organization was already insolvent before it purchased the $6 million mansion in October 2020. But the organization had been given $90 million in the five months leading up to the purchase, $66.5 million of which was transferred directly into BLM’s care the very month of the real estate purchase, as the organization that had been handling its finances until that point conveyed the funds.
Communist activist Angela Davis joined Cullors by throwing up more distractions and asserting that the entire push for nonprofit transparency, something with which all other organizations must comply, is akin to the FBI’s COINTELPRO domestic spying program from the 1960s.
A full investigation seems to be warranted into BLM’s finances, and this is not just something conservatives should want. Indeed, those who should be most upset about BLM’s apparent misappropriation of funds are those who believe the cause is worthy and those who were duped into giving money to this organization. Then again, many of them opened their wallets and corporate coffers just hoping to find some kind of public redemptive wokeness when they gave millions to a group that did very little charity work. Their white guilt may have gotten in the way of asking the obvious questions about where the money was going.
When you filed your tax return this week, you probably had a bittersweet feeling — yes, it’s expensive and wasteful, but at least you complied with the law and filed the required forms for yet another year. Unfortunately for Cullors and BLM, the law applies to every person and every nonprofit corporation. All taxpayers should look forward to a thorough investigation of what this organization did with the windfall it received.