When last we saw Black Lives Matter’s former CEO Patrisse Cullors, she was on a BLM-produced video explaining the need to entirely abolish the police and (apparently) prisons. That done, “love and protection” and “abolition pods” would provide all needed services. To further educate viewers, Cullors was filmed in front of one of those pods, a moderately-sized geodesic dome, covered with canvas pockets, each of which contained a plant. Lacking light and much in the way of soil or any other way to get nutrients, the plants looked sickly, unlikely to long survive or produce food. Nevertheless, Cullors assured us that the pod would “feed hundreds” of people.
At the time, I pointed out that this was nothing but a child’s fantasy, a little girl imagining herself saving the world. It’s sweet when an eight-year-old does it, barking madness when an adult does. Does everyone get a pony too?
In her latest interview, she still inhabits her own world in which realities the rest of us face never appear. As many know, BLM took in some $90 million in donations following the George Floyd murder and, since then, questions, some asked by the IRS, have arisen about just what it’s doing with all that dough.
Now, everyone who’ ever had anything to do with a non-profit organization knows that, in order to maintain tax-exempt status, NPOs have to tell the government, via IRS Form 990, what they do with their money. But BLM hasn’t been exactly forthcoming with that information. Enterprising journalists have revealed some unseemly doings such as BLM purchasing a party house for $6 million that a business associate of Cullors had bought just days before for $3 million, handing him a handsome profit. Meanwhile, expenditures to further the stated mission of BLM seem harder to locate.
So what does Cullors do when faced with the strong suggestion that BLM is misusing the funds gullible supporters donated? You know the answer; she dons, on behalf of herself and BLM, the mantle of victim.
It is such a trip now to hear the term '[IRS Form] 990.' I'm, like, ugh. It's, like, triggering…
This doesn't seem safe for us, this 990 structure — this nonprofit system structure. This is, like, deeply unsafe. This is being literally weaponized against us, against the people we work with.
She’s right about one thing; the whole “committing tax fraud thing” can be “unsafe,” as in, you can go to prison for doing it.
Otherwise, Cullors seems again to inhabit a land of her own imagining far, far away. There, things didn’t happen the way they did here in the U.S.A. There, the lawyers that set up the 501(c)3 organization didn’t explain to the BLM principles that they’d have to, you know, account for the money taken in and spent or that they’d have to spend it in furtherance of the organization’s stated mission. No, it’s a total surprise.
And in her fantasy land, Cullors has no access to the laws and regulations governing NPOs. In fact, she doesn’t need to because there are no such rules. BLM leaders can tell their donors how the organization intends to spend their money and then do something completely different. And if that happens to be blatant self-dealing, that’s OK too and any claim to the contrary is racism. Demanding that BLM follow rules with which every other NPO complies is so deeply white supremacist that it makes Cullors feel – that most dire of all progressive feelings – unsafe.
Perhaps the only thing more telling than Cullors’ childish behavior is that of her interviewer who nods sympathetically throughout. It seems that following the rules is not only something the likes of BLM shouldn’t be asked to do, but so obviously so that it doesn’t bear discussion.
Jussie Smollett learned that reality has a way of asserting itself even if one taps the heels of one’s ruby slippers together three times. We’ll see what happens with Cullors and BLM. I just hope no one feels unsafe.