Indiana Attorney General defends lawsuit against Black Lives Matter

NOW: Indiana Attorney General defends lawsuit against Black Lives Matter

Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita says he’s not targeting Black Lives Matter organizations because of their political beliefs, following his lawsuit filed against the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation.

BLMGNF is a national organization, with chapters across the U.S., including one in South Bend.

Rokita says the group claimed to raise more than $90 million in 2020, but IRS filings list $0 in revenue. Meanwhile, New York Magazine reports a BLMGNF organizer bought a $6 million home, leading to questions about how the group handled donations.  

"This [lawsuit] is about whether or not, and the verdict is still out because they’re not cooperating, this is about whether they stole money. Plain and simple,” Rokita told ABC57.

The attorney general, investigating whether donations were used for their intended purpose, is suing the group to obtain internal records. Rokita said he’s specifically looking at whether BLMGNF violated either the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act or the Indiana Nonprofit Corporation Act.

Black Lives Matter South Bend, which received funds from the Global Network Foundation, said it's cooperating with the AG's office by handing over information about its operations and relationship with BLMGNF to Rokita.

“Please be rest assured that no member of this organization has engaged in self-dealing, and we have used all of our resources to improve our community,” BLM South Bend said in a statement.

This isn't the first time Rokita has set his sights on Black Lives Matter.

Late last year, Rokita issued an advisory opinion telling teachers to stop displaying the words "Black Lives Matter" in public schools. Rokita said the BLM organization is a political group so teachers even displaying the phrase in public school is, in his opinion, illegal.

When asked by ABC57, Rokita said he is not using his office to target political ideologies he disagrees with.

"There shouldn't be any political complaint about [this investigation], unless one political party or one side of the spectrum, particularly the left, thinks it's okay to steal and lie to people and take their money,” Rokita said. “Which is what we're trying to get to the bottom of. Which we would with any organization that was this blatant in the public eye."

Rokita said, under Indiana law, if BLMGNF doesn't comply with his investigation, it could face sanctions that would ban it from fundraising in the state.

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