Last year, the Black Lives Matter movement’s organizers established a non-profit organization to fund activism and projects. The group has released its tax filings to the public, something conservatives like former President Trump are concerned about doing, showing that it invested more than $1.2 million lobbying members of Congress in an attempt to get them to impeach Trump a second time after his alleged involvement in the January 6 domestic terrorist attack on the US Capitol.
According to the Center for Biological Diversity’s Form 990, which was 63 pages long, the organization worked from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. The nonprofit’s closing year had an estimated $42 million in net assets. When the organization claimed it spent funds “lobby member[s] of Congress to vote in favor of impeachment,” it was crystal clear that it had spent a lot of money on influencing members of Congress.
“This 990 reveals that (the BLM foundation) is the largest Black abolitionist nonprofit organization that has ever existed in the nation’s history. What we’re doing has never been done before,” said Shalomyah Bowers, pictured below, the foundation’s current board secretary. He added, “We needed to get dollars out to grassroots organizations doing the work of abolition, doing the work that would shift the moral tide of this world towards one that does not have or believe in police, prisons, jails or violence.”
The Black Lives Matter organization has given Bowers’ firm a lot of money in recent years. However, he claims there is no conflict of interest since his firm was engaged for consulting before he was named to the board.
“Our firm stepped in when Black Lives Matter had no structure and no staff,” he said. “We filled the gap when nothing else existed. But let me be crystal clear, there was no conflict of interest.”
The Black Lives Matter Global Network is a “chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and fight for freedom, justice, and dignity for Black people,” according to its website. The organization was formed in 2013 as a reaction to Trayvon Martin’s murderer being acquitted.
The group’s tax filings show that they spent lavishly, paying six-figure salaries to some of its top employees and chartering private planes. Bowers claims that the spending was critical in getting their message out to the public.
“If we’re going to change the world, we have to show up in a way that is bigger than what’s been done before,” he said. “It requires spending money to make change. To say we shouldn’t spend any money is shortsighted and would limit our ability to create the world we want to see.”
What are your thoughts on the Black Lives Matter group’s tax records? Do you believe they were putting their funds to good use? Or did they overspend in a few areas?