INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita filed a lawsuit this week against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation as a part of his ongoing investigation into the organization’s use of donations, his office announced Thursday.
In a press release, Rokita’s office said this legal action — a Petition to Enforce a Civil Investigative Demand — seeks compliance with an investigative demand previously served on BLM. Rokita in February opened an investigation into BLM’s use of funds donated by Hoosiers.
The AG’s office said a 2020 report published by the BLM organization stated it raised over $90 million in 2020, while it distributed about $21.7 million to 30 local organizations and affiliated chapters, including an affiliated chapter in South Bend, Indiana. However, an IRS filing by BLM for the first half of 2020 claimed the organization had $0 in revenue, expenses and assets held by BLM for the time period, per the AG’s office.
Rokita issued a Civil Investigative Demand to BLM to “determine if the organization’s actions constitute a violation of either the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act or the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act,” his office said. The demand seeks information and documents relevant to the investigation to ensure transparency and funds donated by Indiana residents are used for intended purposes.
“Under Indiana law, failure to comply with the civil investigative demand could result in sanctions against the entity, including barring the entity from any future fundraising in Indiana, among other possible remedies.,” the AG’s office explained.
Rokita encourages Hoosier donors who believe they have been impacted to file a consumer complaint at indianaconsumer.com.
“There are concerning patterns of behavior from this organization, and we will do what it takes—including this lawsuit—to get to the bottom of it,” Rokita said in a release.
When asked for comment, the Indianapolis BLM chapter referred CBS4 to a link to blmchapterstatement.com, where a statement titled “Tell No Lies” reads:
“The BLM10+ (The original 10 signatories and the other chapters and organizers that stand with us) remain steadfast in our open calls for accountability from the BLM Global Network Foundation (BLMGN) and Patrisse Cullors. With no other viable options available, on November 30, 2020 the BLM10 released a public statement calling for accountability from the Network and the affiliated Foundation. Following the release of this statement, chapter names were promptly removed from the BLMGN website. As a direct result of the release of our public statement, the demands for accountability grew. Families of those who were lost to police violence spoke out and also demanded accountability, including Michael Brown Sr., Samaria Rice, and Lisa Simpson.”
The Indiana Democratic Party released the following statement in response to the lawsuit:
“Todd Rokita’s lawsuit against Black Lives Matter has little to do with the law itself and more to do with a national partisan agenda. If Rokita really did care about the rule of law, he wouldn’t have supported the Indiana GOP’s effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election AND he would hold Republican leaders accountable for breaking election laws – neither of which have happened. Rokita consistently shows the Indiana GOP has no plan for the state’s future — just partisanship.”