(FeaturedNews.com) – Black Lives Matter (BLM) faces continued scrutiny for failing to report its financial information properly. The organization saw a massive increase in donations after the death of George Floyd in 2020, yet nobody seems to know who is managing those funds. Now, the group is making accounting changes that have some experts asking questions.
An Accounting Switcharoo
BLM claims it brought in $60 million in proceeds in 2020. Yet, there is no tax return available to allow anyone to verify the funds. In fact, the discrepancy is so serious that the group faces the loss of its tax-exempt status in California if it doesn’t sort the issue out quickly.
In what seems to be an attempt to fix the situation, the organization recently changed its accounting process from a 12-month cycle to one running from July to June. However, the calendar to fiscal year switch may be a tactic to delay reporting to tax agencies.
In addition, the accounting switch means that BLM must only send the IRS a short-form report for the first half of 2020. That timeframe fell before it exploded on the national stage and thus, received the bulk of its donations. The group has until mid-May to file for the second half of 2020.
BLM only became its own entity in July 2020; it gained charity rights from the IRS in August of the same year. In October, the group suddenly received $66.5 million from Thousand Currents, a California-based nonprofit that financially supported the project in the past. Private donations also began rolling in at around the same point in time.
Even more interesting is the fact that, as of November 11, 2021, BLM was still operating under a calendar year cycle. It is unclear when it switched to fiscal year reporting or why it chose to take this path. It also remains unclear who exactly is running the organization and managing its finances.
Watchdogs Ask Questions
CharityWatch, a charity watchdog group, is currently reviewing BLM. Executive Director Laurie Styron told the Washington Examiner that the accounting change looks suspicious and undermines oversight efforts on nonprofits. It constitutes trying to hide information from the public and delays the potential discovery of funds mismanagement.
Styron also said not knowing who is in charge of the finances is a major transparency issue. She classified this case as one of the worst she’s seen in 18 years.
It is worth noting the IRS does allow a change of accounting status if the group files a short-year Form 990, which BLM did. So, the shift was probably a legal move, but that doesn’t make it any less ethically questionable.
Who’s in Charge?
Patrisse Cullors stepped down as the executive director of BLM in May 2021. So far, there is no known replacement. At the time, Cullors suggested Makani Themba and Monifa Bandele would take over, but the pair claim that never came to fruition due to disagreements with the organization.
Tax filings list Kailee Scales as the person in charge of budget management. Scales is a co-founder of the group.
BLM appears to be suffering from severe management issues. Yet, nobody at BLM seems to answer inquiries from the press. It may not be until the group files its taxes in May that the truth comes out.
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