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Amazon drops Black Lives Matter from charity platform amid financial scrutiny

Amazon has kicked Black Lives Matter off of its charity fundraising platform AmazonSmile after the parent organization has experienced growing scrutiny in recent weeks regarding its finances.

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Hannah Nightingale Washington DC
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Amazon has kicked Black Lives Matter off of its charity fundraising platform AmazonSmile after the parent organization has experienced growing scrutiny in recent weeks regarding its finances.

According to the Washington Examiner, the move comes less than two years after Amazon donated $10 million to BLM and 11 other social justice groups following the death of George Floyd, and deprives the organization of a revenue source that has provided $306 million to charities across the US.

The move comes after questions have been raised regarding what the parent organization, Black Lives Matter  Global Network, did with the large amount of money it received in donations during the latter half of 2020.

On February 2, the organization reportedly shut down its online fundraising after California and Washington made legal threats against the organization for failing to report what it did with that money, according to the Washington Examiner.

In California, Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a letter to the organization warning that "the organization BLACK LIVES MATTER GLOBAL NETWORK FOUNDATION, INC. is delinquent with The Registry of Charitable Trusts for failing to submit required annual report(s)." for the 2020 tax year.

Reports show that in 2020 BLM raised $90 million, spent $8.4 million, and distributed $21.7 million in grants to 33 other organizations, closing the year with a balance of $60 million.

According to the Washington Examiner, as of Wednesday afternoon, BLM is still out of compliance in those states, as well as in New Jersey, North Carolina, Connecticut, Colorado, Maryland, Maine, and Virginia.

BLM said when it shut down its fundraising that it had engaged "compliance counsel" to get back in good standing in these states.

“Charitable organizations must meet the requirements outlined in our participation agreement to be eligible for AmazonSmile," an Amazon representative told the Washington Examiner.

"Among other eligibility requirements, organizations are required to be in good standing in their state of incorporation and in the states and territories where they are authorized to do business. Organizations that don’t meet the requirements listed in the agreement may have its eligibility suspended or revoked. Charities can request to be reinstated once they are back in good standing," they added.

Last Wednesday, BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors, who resigned from BLM in May, said that the unaccounted millions her group received in 2020 came from "white corporation guilt."

"People have to know we didn't go out and solicit the money," Cullors said. "This is money that came from white guilt, white corporation guilt, and they just poured money in."

"The Amazon spokesperson declined to clarify exactly how much Amazon donated to Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation, the charity that serves as the face of the national BLM movement, in June 2020. The spokesperson also declined to clarify if the online retail giant has made any effort to verify whether BLM used its contribution for charitable purposes," the Washington Examiner noted.

Recently, the Washington Examiner noted that BLM had changed 12-month accounting cycle to July through June, which enabled the group to delay reporting on the second half of 2020 until may 2022.

CharityWatch Executive Director Laurie Styron told the Washington Examiner that BLM's accounting period change was "the worst transparency issue" she's ever seen.

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