Black Lives Matter said it refunded contributions that its affiliated political action committee received from a recent email it sent to its supporters following a Washington Examiner report that the message was likely a “clear violation” of IRS charity rules.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the charity that represents the national BLM movement, sent a message to its email list Tuesday that contained a donation button for the Black Lives Matter PAC, which is the charity’s affiliated political organization that works to elect Democrats across the country.
The IRS states on its website that a charity risks jeopardizing its tax-exempt 501(c)(3) status when it “solicits contributions to or for candidates or political organizations.”
The managing partner and CEO of Fireside Campaigns, a liberal communications consulting firm that sent the email on BLM’s behalf, told the Washington Examiner on Friday that the BLM PAC refunded all the funds it raised from the charity’s Tuesday email.
“During an email campaign sent on March 22, 2022, with the subject line ‘Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination,’ Fireside Campaigns inadvertently included a fundraising link for BLM PAC in a nonfundraising email for Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation,” Brad Bauman said.
“The email did not include any language or reference to donating to either entity. There was no authorization or prior knowledge from Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation to include the donation link at the bottom of the email,” Bauman added. “The $400 raised from this email has been refunded. Fireside Campaigns takes full responsibility for this error.”
Paul Kamenar, an attorney for conservative watchdog group the National Legal and Policy Center, previously told the Washington Examiner that BLM’s use of charitable resources to solicit funds for overtly political activities “appears to be a clear violation of the IRS rules prohibiting charities from soliciting contributions to a political action committee.”
The BLM PAC donation page linked in the charity’s email Tuesday stated that funds raised would help the political group prepare “for the most critical midterm election yet.”
“Every single race is an opportunity to build Black political power,” the donation page states. “If you’re ready to continue the electoral fight for Black lives, chip in to our efforts and start building for the 2022 midterms.”
BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors claimed in a February 202`1 report that the $746,000 BLM PAC spent on the Georgia Senate races in 2020 played a pivotal role in securing victory for Democratic Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
“We won’t stop until we get Black Lives Matter into the mouth of every elected official,” Cullors said in the report. “To be clear, we understand that transforming the world requires both protest and politics. We must vote and organize. The BLM PAC is an additive to an already immeasurably strong movement.”
Cullors resigned from BLM in May 2021 amid criticism of her personal real estate purchases. She appointed two replacement executives to take her place in the charity, but both replacements quietly announced in September that they never took the job because of disagreements with the charity.
BLM voluntarily shut down its ability to raise charitable funds Feb. 2 following a Washington Examiner investigation into its lack of financial transparency that prompted multiple states to issue demands to the group to cease its fundraising activities.
BLM was also booted off Amazon’s charity platform, AmazonSmile, in February because of its compliance issues across the country.
The charity remains out of compliance in Washington, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, and Virginia as of Friday afternoon.