Indiana AG files suit against Black Lives Matter

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has filed a lawsuit against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation as part of an ongoing investigation related to the organization’s use of funds donated by Hoosiers.

Rokita on Tuesday filed a verified petition to enforce a civil investigative demand that his office issued to BLMGNF in February. 

The CID stems from an investigation opened by the attorney general’s office earlier this year to determine if BLMGNF’s actions constituted a violation of either the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act or the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act.

A 2020 report published by BLMGNF revealed that the foundation took in more than $90 million that year, distributing approximately $21.7 million in grant funding to 30 local organizations and affiliated chapters. An affiliated chapter in South Bend, Indiana received some of those funds, according to the BLMGNF report. The foundation’s expenses totaled at $8.4 million, the report states.

An IRS filing by BLMGNF for the first half of 2020 listed the organization had $0 in revenue, expenses and assets held by BLMGNF for the time period, according to a news release from Rokita’s office.

The attorney general’s office says it is seeking information and documents held by BLMGNF relevant to the ongoing investigation to “ensure transparency to donors and guarantee funds donated by Hoosiers are used for their intended purpose and not for the personal benefit of BLM directors.”

Failure to comply with the civil investigative demand could result in sanctions against the entity, under Indiana law, including barring BLMGNF from any future fundraising in Indiana, the news release said.

“There are many Indiana stakeholders and donors who have been impacted by these allegations,” said Rokita in a Thursday statement. “This lawsuit will allow for a court to swiftly and efficiently resolve the state’s request for information.”

The complaint, filed in Marion Superior Court 1, states that the BLMGNF failed to respond to a CID issued by Rokita’s office that contained interrogatories and requests for production of documents. It says the attorney general subsequently sent a deficiency letter to BLMGNF through their registered agent, The Corporation Trust Company, as well as to Elias Law Group, which the office says was listed in the contact information for BLMGNF in its most recent IRS Form 900 filing.

The complaint also requests that a court hearing be set on the matter and asks that the court order BLMGNF “to provide a full response to CID 22-008 by answering fully and truthfully the interrogatories and requests for production.”

Additionally, the complaint requests the court to enter an injunction restraining BLMGNF from engaging in the solicitation of fundraising in Indiana and an order revoking or suspending the certificate of authority of BLMGNF to do business in Indiana.

Rokita’s office also requests that the court grant other relief that may be required until BLMGNF fully complies with the investigative demand.

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