New York AG says Black Lives Matter Foundation ‘not affiliated with the movement’ and orders it to stop collecting donations

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Monday ordered the Black Lives Matter Foundation — which she said is not affiliated with the larger Black Lives Matter movement — to stop collecting donations in New York.

“I ordered the Black Lives Matter Foundation to stop illegally accepting donations that were intended for the BlackLivesMatter movement. This foundation is not affiliated with the movement, yet it accepted countless donations and deceived goodwill,” James tweeted.

The Black Lives Matter Foundation is based in California and, according to a 2017 tax filing, seeks to “help bring the police and the community closer together.” The organization recently came under scrutiny after news reports that it had solicited donations from people who were given the impression that their money would go to the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ray Barnes, the president and CEO of the foundation, told CNN on Monday night that he has never solicited donations in New York.

“I have never been to New York in the matter of the Black Lives Matter Foundation. We have never solicited any funds from New York. Now, donations have come through charitable organizations. They may have sent us funds that the donor may have been from New York, but it is not because we solicited from New York,” Barnes said.

“The funds come to us and they may be from people from New York. I don’t know. But we have never solicited any funds from New York,” Barnes continued.

In her order, James cited the organization’s failure to register and file the appropriate financial documents as the reasons for her action.

“Black Lives Matter Foundation must immediately cease any solicitation of contributions and any other fundraising activities in New York in which it is engaged,” the order stated.

Following the death of George Floyd, many Americans were driven to donate to racial justice causes. The Black Lives Matter Foundation was set to receive at least $4.35 million from donors like Google, Apple and Microsoft, BuzzFeed News reported. Barnes told CNN these reports were untrue.

“Every organization that seeks to solicit donations from New Yorkers must follow state laws,” James said in a news release.

“We will also fight for transparency so that donors’ goodwill isn’t preyed upon by opportunists. The Black Lives Matter Foundation failed to register or file any financial documents with the state, and therefore has failed to provide New Yorkers with information on how their donations will be used. That’s why we are taking action by demanding that the foundation stop soliciting contributions from New Yorkers. I encourage all donors to practice due diligence when giving to charities.”