How Black Lives Matter Criminals Were Enabled by the I.R.S. and the Democrat Party
And taxpayers were left with the bill.
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The recently revealed purchase of multi-million-dollar properties by Black Lives Matter leaders, using unaccounted-for tax-exempt funds, tells us what we already should have known: Black Lives Matter is a gang of street criminals who think nothing of stealing money donated to help “marginalized and under-served” communities, and pocketing it for themselves.
Because Black Lives Matter is a criminal organization responsible for violent mob actions in over 200 American cities in 2020, including the burning federal buildings and police stations, causing several billion dollars in property damage and sparking a national crime wave that resulted in 4,901 more homicides in 2020 than in the previous year, it is not surprising that they are no respecters of the causes they advocate, let alone the laws and regulations governing tax-exempt organizations. Yet throughout the mayhem and criminal violence orchestrated by Black Lives Matter, the I.R.S and its commissioner Charles Rettig watched from afar and did nothing to prevent taxpayer monies from being used to bail out those Black Lives Matter thugs who had been arrested for breaking the law, and returning them to the streets to commit still more crimes.
From 2016 to December 2020, BLM was a fiscally sponsored project of Thousand Currents, a left-wing, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt foundation. A “fiscal sponsor” allows an organization that does not have its own IRS tax-exempt status to collect tax-deductible donations under its umbrella. The Vice Chairman of Thousand Currents - Susan Rosenberg - is a convicted terrorist who had been arrested with 740 pounds of dynamite, an arsenal of automatic weapons and plans to blow up government buildings. Rosenberg was a member of the May 19 Communist organization responsible for enabling convicted cop-killer and patron saint of Black Lives Matter, Assata Shakur, to escape from prison in 1979 and flee to Cuba. On his last day in office, a sympathetic president Bill Clinton commuted Rosenberg’s 58-year sentence to time served, shaving 42 years off her penalty, and allowing her to return to her radical activities..
In December 2020, the IRS granted the BLM Global Network Foundation — the primary organizational umbrella of the BLM movement — its own tax-exempt status, authorizing it to operate as a charitable organization independent of any fiscal sponsor. That newly conferred tax-exempt status made it legally necessary for BLM to submit an annual filing to the IRS known as Form 990, disclosing information about its donors and expenditures. But BLM submitted no such forms in either 2020 or 2021.
Because of the political bias that has been injected into government institutions like the I.R.S. virtually no attention has been paid to the network of so-called charitable organizations they have authorized to underwrite the destructive, criminal activities of Black Lives Matter. Thousand Currents is only one avenue by which political donors under the guise of philanthropic interests have funded the riots that have looted major American cities, assaulted their inhabitants, burned their city centers and polarized the nation. In July 2020, the Tides Center, a $100 million tax-exempt foundation that funnels money from anonymous donors into “progressive” causes, joined Thousand Currents as a “fiscal sponsor” of Black Lives Matter and its criminal activities. The Ford Foundation and the charitable arms of Fortune 500 companies like Apple and Amazon are also part of the network of otherwise law-abiding organizations that fund lawlessness as a charitable venture.
These money streams fund an operation that is not only lawless but is a willing appendage of the Democrat Party. When individuals click the “donate” button on the Black Lives Matter website, they are redirected to a subdomain called “Act Blue Charities” – a deceptive title if there ever was one. Act Blue describes itself as “a powerful online fundraising platform for Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, progressive organizations and non-profits.” If ever a network should have sounded alarms at the I.R.S. this was it. But progressives have become so comfortable breaking the law in the name of “social justice” it didn’t.
BLM’s close ties to the Democrat Party date at least to August of 2015, when the Democratic National Committee formally approved a resolution stating that “the DNC joins with Americans across the country in affirming ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the ‘Say Her Name’ efforts to make visible the pain of our fellow and sister Americans as they condemn extrajudicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children.” The alleged extra-judicial killings of unarmed African American men, women and children are a fiction invented by Black Lives Matter to achieve its aim of de-funding the police, swallowed whole by the Democrat Party. There is no Justice Department statistic to support these incendiary claims but that hasn’t stopped Black Lives Matter from repeating them. Beginning with Michael Brown and Eric Garner, every celebrated Black Lives Matter case has involved an armed criminal resisting arrest – or, in the tragic case of Tamir Rice, appearing to resist arrest.
Underscoring the Democrats’ sponsorship of Black Lives Matter, President Barak Obama invited BLM leaders to the White House multiple times and used the occasions to praise their efforts. He did so, even after five police officers were assassinated in Dallas by a deranged black racist at a Black Lives Matter march in. 2016. In her 2018 autobiography, When They Call You A Terrorist, Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors portrayed this psychopath as a black victim of white supremacy.
At a White House event during Black History Month in February 2016, Obama welcomed BLM leaders DeRay McKesson and Brittany Packnett. In the course of his remarks, Obama said: “But we’ve also got some young people here who are making history as we speak. People like Brittany [Packnett], who served on our Police Task Force in the wake of Ferguson, and has led many of the protests that took place there and shined a light on the injustice that was happening. People like DeRay Mckesson, who has done some outstanding work mobilizing in Baltimore around these issues. And to see generations continuing to work on behalf of justice and equality and economic opportunity is greatly encouraging to me…. They are much better organizers than I was at their age. I am confident they are going to take America to new heights.”
On September 16, 2015, Packnett, McKesson, and fellow BLM activist Johnetta Elzie met with Obama at the White House. Senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and other administration officials were also present. For Packnett, it was her seventh visit to the Obama White House. Afterward, Packnett told reporters that the president personally supported the BLM movement. “He offered us a lot of encouragement with his background as a community organizer, and told us that even incremental changes were progress,” she stated. “He didn’t want us to get discouraged. He said, ‘Keep speaking truth to power.’”
The BLM-Democrat connection grew closer during the riots that followed the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. Floyd was a career criminal high on four times the lethal dose of fentanyl when the police attempted to arrest him and he resisted. His death, most likely from the fentanyl, led to violent BLM-orchestrated riots in 220 American cities. As numerous rioters were arrested, a tax-exempt foundation called the Minnesota Freedom Fund made bail payments to get them released. Senator Kamala Harris made a public statement supporting the Minnesota Freedom Fund and soliciting contributions. “If you’re able to, chip in now to the @MNFreedomFund to help post bail for those protesting on the ground in Minnesota,” tweeted the senator. At least 13 staff members of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign made personal donations to the Fund.
Of course, the culprits whom the Minnesota Freedom Fund (MFF) bailed out weren’t arrested for “protesting.” They were arrested for assault, arson and other criminal acts. Bailing them out, freed them to continue their criminal attacks. Thanks in part to Harris’ endorsement, MFF received more than $35 million in tax-exempt donations, while a Democrat-supporting I.R.S. did nothing to stop them, even though their sponsor, BLM, had already announced they were a political organization whose goal was to get rid of the Republican Trump and put a Democrat in his place.
The tax code is quite specific about its ban on political activity by tax-exempt entities like Black Lives Matter:
Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity.
During a June 19, 2020 interview on CNN, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors had said that President Trump was “not fit for office,” and that “he should resign now. Trump needs to be out of office. And so what we are going to push for is a move to get Trump out…. [O]ur goal is to get Trump out.”
Yet no interest by the I.R.S. in all those tax-exempt dollars going to criminal activities whose stated goal was to replace Trump with a Democrat.
On July 27, 2020, Cullors spoke at the Democratic National Committee’s party platform meeting, where she demanded that “sea changes” be made “to the 2020 Democratic platform” in the areas of “the legal system, policing, education, the environment and reparations.” She also noted, approvingly, that the policy team of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) — an anti-capitalist 501(c)(3) nonprofit coalition that includes BLM and dozens of other radical organizations — had recently met with Biden campaign representatives to discuss the BREATHE Act, legislation seeking to “dives[t] our taxpayer dollars from brutal and discriminatory policing.” Of course, the matter of BLM brutality on the streets of America’s major cities was one of indifference to Democrats who had chosen whose side they were on.
In a June 17, 2020 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, an enthusiastic Senator Kamala Harris stated that the BLM riots that were tearing apart city after city should continue indefinitely. Said Harris, a former prosecutor: “They’re not going to stop. This is a movement, I’m telling you….They’re not going to let up and they should not and we should not…. The only way we are going to truly achieve change is when there are people in the system who are willing or pushing to do it and when there are those of us who are outside the system demanding it.” Change through criminal intimidation is not the American system, and not a privilege that a tax-exempt organization should be arrogating to itself. But again, the I.R.S. adhered to its code of Hear No Evil/See No Evil if it is perpetrated by the left.
At the 2020 Democratic National Convention Obama applauded the spectacle of “Americans of all races joining together to declare, in the face of injustice and brutality at the hands of the state, that black lives matter.” Addressing BLM and its supporters directly, Obama said: “To the young people who led us [in protests] this summer, telling us we need to be better—in so many ways, you are this country’s dreams fulfilled….” [emphasis added.]
On October 9th, as the 2020 election approached, BLM launched a Political Action Committee to “actively engage in the general election” by supporting Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and other Democrat political candidates. Patrisse Cullors explained the rationale for the creation of this PAC: “We want to be able to not just speak in ‘get out the vote’ language. [I.e., the neutral language of an activity allowed under the rules governing tax-exempt foundations.] Black Lives Matter is launching our PAC so we can talk directly to voters about who we think that they should be voting for and what we think they should be voting on.” [Activities a tax-exempt foundation is clearly barred from pursuing.] Again, silence from I.R.S. commissioner Charles Rettig and his organization about this gross violation of I.R.S. rules.
BLM’s 2020 Impact Report, which was published in early 2021, named five Democrats BLM had endorsed “for winning [elections] on a platform that invested in Black lives.” These elected officials included Cori Bush (U.S. House, Missouri), Jamaal Bowman (U.S. House, New York), Nikema Williams (U.S. House, Georgia), Jose Garza (District Attorney, Texas), and Shayla Adams-Stafford (Prince George’s Board of Education District, Maryland). The same Impact Report boasted that Black Lives Matter’s PAC had also helped “to ensure [that] both Reverend Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff were victorious” in the January 2021 Georgia runoff elections which gave Democrats de facto control of the U.S. Senate.
In the immediate aftermath of the November 3, 2020 presidential election, BLM protesters, who had spent months “preparing” a response in the event of a disputed election, threatened violent unrest if Biden were not declared the winner, and if Trump did not drop his concerns about the legitimacy of the vote. Providing a glimpse of the mayhem that awaited the country if Trump were to prevail, massive throngs of screaming BLM protesters swarmed the streets in city after city with bullhorns, raised fists, and flags and banners demanding a Biden victory.
On November 7 — the day several mainstream media outlets declared Biden and Harris winners of the 2020 election — BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors sent a letter to the new President and VP, signing it “on behalf of the Black Lives Matter Global Network.” After effusively congratulating Biden and Harris on their reported victory, Cullors demanded political payback for her organization’s efforts to get them elected:
We want something for our vote. Without the resounding support of Black people, we would be saddled with a very different electoral outcome. In short, Black people won this election. Alongside Black-led organizations around the nation, Black Lives Matter invested heavily in this election. ‘Vote and Organize’ became our motto, and our electoral justice efforts reached more than 60 million voters. We want something for our vote.
We want to be heard and our agenda to be prioritized. We issue these expectations not just because Black people are the most consistent and reliable voters for Democrats, but also because Black people are truly living in crisis in a nation that was built on our subjugation….
In a June 17, 2020 appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, an enthusiastic Senator Kamala Harris stated that the BLM riots that were tearing apart city after city should continue indefinitely. Said Harris, a former prosecutor: “They’re not going to stop. This is a movement, I’m telling you…. They’re not going to let up and they should not and we should not…. The only way we are going to truly achieve change is when there are people in the system who are willing or pushing to do it and when there are those of us who are outside the system demanding it.” Change through criminal intimidation is not the American system, and not a privilege that a tax-exempt organization should be arrogating to itself. But again, the I.R.S. adhered to its code of Hear No Evil/See No Evil when it is perpetrated by the left.
Not only was the IRS unmoved to examine the obvious efforts by BLM and the Democratic Party to promote their electoral agendas on the backs of the American taxpayer, it has up to now failed to investigate BLM’s evident 2020 theft of $90 million to line the pockets of its leaders.
In October 2020, on terminating its role as BLM’s fiscal sponsor, Thousand Currents, transferred $66.5 million directly into the coffers of Black Lives Matter. Two weeks later, a woman named Dyane Pascall — in a transaction that would be kept secret for the next 18 months — took nearly $6 million from BLM’s bank account and used it to pay cash for a vast southern California estate that included a 6,500 square-foot mansion with multiple fireplaces, a soundstage, a pool and bungalow, and parking facilities that could accommodate more than 20 vehicles. Pascall was: (a) the financial manager for Janaya and Patrisse Consulting, a Limited Liability Corporation run by BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors and her spouse, Janaya Khan; and (b) the chief financial officer for Trap Heals, a nonprofit organization headed by Damon Turner, the biological father of Cullors’ only child.
Within a week of the aforementioned purchase of the southern California estate, Pascall transferred ownership of that property to a Delaware LLC that had been established for BLM by Perkins Coie, the Democrat law firm that in 2016 was paid by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign to fabricate an election-interference conspiracy theory tying Donald Trump to Russian political operatives.
As is usually the case with grifters and swindlers, there was no shortage of leeches in BLM’s orbit, eager to hop aboard the $90 million gravy train. Indeed, a number of people and entities associated with BLM, “Janaya and Patrisse Consulting,” and the “Bowers Consulting Firm” (an entity headed by BLM Deputy Executive Director Shalomyah Bowers), were awarded contracts for the handling of the estate’s upkeep, maintenance, and security needs. These individuals were required, without exception, to sign nondisclosure agreements regarding the existence and ownership of the estate.
On March 30, 2022, investigative reporter Sean Campbell asked BLM a series of questions about the southern California estate, which was known internally by BLM as the “Campus.” Soon thereafter, BLM leaders circulated an internal strategy memo asking “Can we kill the story?” and suggesting that they should try to distance themselves from the potentially embarrassing facts: “Our angle — needs to be to deflate ownership of the property.”
Dyane Pascall’s purchase of the S\southern California estate was not the only questionable transaction made in recent years by someone with close ties to BLM. For example:
- In 2016, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors purchased a three-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom home in Inglewood, California for $510,000.
- Two years later, she paid $590,000, in cash, for a four-bedroom, 1,725 square-foot home in South Los Angeles.
- In January 2020, Cullors paid $415,000 for a three-bedroom, two-bath “custom ranch” on 3.2 acres of land in Conyers, Georgia. The house included a private airplane hangar with a studio apartment above it; an indoor swimming pool; the use of a 2,500-foot community runway capable of accommodating small airplanes; and a large “RV shop” where a mobile home or small aircraft could undergo maintenance or repair.
- In April 2021, it was reported that Cullors had purchased her fourth home, a secluded mini-compound in Los Angeles’ semi-remote Topanga Canyon for more than $1.4 million.
- It was also reported in April 2021 that Cullors had recently looked at property in an ultra-exclusive resort in the Bahamas, where luxury beachfront apartments and townhouses were priced in the range of $5 million to $20 million.
- In June 2021, it was reported that Cullors had spent $35,000 to have contractors install fencing around the entire perimeter of her Topanga Canyon home, as well as an electronic gate.
- In the summer of 2019, a consulting firm owned by Asha Bandele — who had co-authored Cullors’ 2018 autobiography When They Call You a Terrorist — paid out nearly $26,000 on behalf of Reform LA Jails (RLAJ), a reform initiative chaired by Cullors. And what was that money used for? It was used to pay for the use of a 200-acre luxury beach resort in Malibu, California as the venue for a series of RLAJ “meetings.”
For a while this was one of the most successful scams in American history. Exploiting what was supposed to be among the most government-regulated and monitored institutions, Black Lives Matter leaders were able to gin up a national hysteria over non-existent racial offenses by police departments that were often headed by black police chiefs and overseen by black mayors and liberal city councils. The massive vigilante movement spawned by Black Lives Matter was financed by fleecing American tax-payers of tens of millions of dollars, and powered by a lynch mob mentality that insisted on verdicts in advance of investigations let alone trials on pain of suffering unprecedented violence in America’s streets: “No Justice, No Peace.” Its agenda – alarmingly successful - was to hang white cops as neanderthal racists intent on ending innocent black lives because they were black.
There never was any truth to this claim, but large numbers of Americans and a major political party bought into the fiction because the racist attacks on white cops served their own agendas and needs. It all came to an end with Patrisse Cullor’s petty greed, which exposed the smallness of a mind that cannot encompass empathy for its victims both black and white who suffered because of her lies and the criminal crusade they inflamed.
The crimes committed by Black Lives Matter were in part enabled by a derelict and politically corrupted I.R.S., and also a Democrat Party that has been seduced by America-hating radicals and lost its way. Only time will tell if the integrity of the institutions the left has destroyed – the White House, the Department of Justice, the I.R.S., - can be restored by well-meaning people on both sides of the political aisle. If they cannot, even darker times lie ahead.
David Horowitz is the founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center and the bestselling author of I Can't Breathe: How a Racial Hoax is Killing America.
John Perazzo is the editor of DiscoverTheNetworks.org—an encyclopedic guide to the political Left and a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is the author of Black Lives Matter: Marxist Hate Dressed Up As Racial Justice.