A co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network weighed in on the 2020 election, in an apparent violation of Internal Revenue Service laws prohibiting 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in campaign activity.
Patrisse Cullors, in her official capacity as a co-founder of the BLM Global Network, told CNN on June 19 that “our goal is to get Trump out.”
“Trump not only needs to not be in office in November but he should resign now,” she insisted. “Trump needs to be out of office. He is not fit for office.”
President "Trump not only needs to not be in office in November but he should resign now," says co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Patrisse Cullors. "Trump needs to be out of office. He is not fit for office." pic.twitter.com/T6mLZ11cEv
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) June 19, 2020
According to the IRS, a 501(c)(3) organization “may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.”
The prohibition includes “public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” Organizations that violate this policy may lose their tax-exempt status.
The donation page for BLM is linked with ActBlue Charities, the 501(c)(3) wing of the Democratic political action committee ActBlue.
The BLM Global Network is not individually registered as a 501(c)(3), but instead operates through a fiscal sponsorship agreement with the nonprofit organization Thousand Currents. Fiscal sponsorships allow the sponsoring organization to accept and direct donations on behalf of the sponsored group. But an organization sponsored by a 501(c)(3) is still required to comply with the regulations governing nonprofits, and is still prohibited from making partisan political statements.
Cleta Mitchell, an expert on campaign finance regulation and tax laws governing charitable organizations such as BLM, told The Federalist that partisan political activity by tax-exempt 501(c)(3) groups is “completely prohibited” by federal tax law.
BLM “must comply with all the rules that govern 501(c)(3) organizations,” Mitchell said.
Thousand Currents, the nonprofit that fiscally sponsors Black Lives Matter, was also recently exposed for having a convicted terrorist on its board of directors.
The Black Lives Matter Global Network and the IRS did not return requests for comment.
Elle Reynolds is an intern at the Federalist, and a senior at Patrick Henry College studying government and journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.