Is BLM Funneling Money From China to the Democrats?

No.

Former NFL player Herschel Walker claimed this week that Black Lives Matter is funneling money from China to the Democratic Party. Walker tweeted out a video in which he said

“Just finished with another workout, but I was thinking. You know I just saw the Democratic Party raised a lot of money and a lot of it came from ActBlue. And I was thinking I always try to give people the truth or where I’m getting it from, and I get it from people (indiscernible) and I also get it from the research I’ve done, which is true. But as they were raising money from ActBlue, I noticed that the BLM, who I told you earlier their founders said that they are Marxist, they were trained from Marxists, and then I saw that BLM give a lot of money to ActBlue, which is OK, I reckon you can support whatever party you want to support and if the Democratic Party wants to be associated with Marxists that’s fine. But then I also saw that BLM had a subsidiary company that was partnering with a company from China that was giving them money. So the money goes from China to the subsidiary to BLM to the Democratic Party. Why does it seem like I’m the only one coming up with this? Just think about it.”

Walker gets one thing completely right: In a 2015 interview, Patrisse Cullors, one of the three co-founders of Black Lives Matter Foundation Inc., also known as the Black Lives Matter Global Network, said that she and one of the other co-founders, Alicia Garza, “are trained Marxists.” It is also true that the Democratic Party has seen increased fundraising since the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, but Walker’s presentation of ActBlue is inaccurate. As noted in a previous Dispatch Fact Check, ActBlue is a fundraising tool used as a conduit for donations, akin to GoFundMe but for political causes. ActBlue’s website says that the tool is available to “Democratic candidates and committees, progressive organizations, and nonprofits that share our values.” The Republican Party operates a similar platform called WinRed. Black Lives Matter did not “give a lot of money to ActBlue” as Walker claimed, it raises money through ActBlue. It is similarly incorrect to say that “a lot of” the funds raised by the Democratic Party “came from ActBlue,” as the record $70 million raised through ActBlue last Saturday came from donors and was earmarked for specific candidates, nonprofits, PACs, and issues.

About a week before Walker tweeted his video, The Daily Signal published a viral article that claimed that another project from BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, called Black Futures Lab, was sponsored by an organization called the Chinese Progressive Association that has ties to the Chinese government. Presumably, this is what Walker is referring to in his discussion of a BLM subsidiary. However, as the New York Times reported on September 18, The Daily Signal article mixed up two organizations bearing the same name. There is a Chinese Progressive Association in Boston, which has sponsored events with the Chinese consulate and is the CPA that The Daily Signal notes has ties to the Chinese government. But there is another Chinese Progressive Association, this one based in San Francisco. It is the San Francisco CPA that has provided fiscal support to Black Futures Lab. The Daily Signal’s article was updated after a Times reporter reached out, but still incorrectly identifies the Boston Chinese Progressive Association as a “chapter” of the San Francisco Chinese Progressive Association, and The Daily Signal published a follow-up article arguing that the two CPAs were ideologically connected. There is, however, no evidence to suggest any formal connection between the two Chinese Progressive Associations, making the original claim of a link between Garza and “a partner of the PRC in the United States” incorrect.

Walker misrepresented the relationship between Black Lives Matter and ActBlue, and his claim of financial ties to a Chinese company is without evidence. 

Statement from The Daily Signal:

Alec Dent’s five-paragraph, 664-word fact-check piece addresses a statement by Herschel Walker that Heritage Foundation scholar Mike Gonzalez had nothing to do with. However, in one 225-word paragraph, Dent refers to Gonzalez’s first article (Sept. 15) for The Daily Signal on links between a Black Lives Matter founder and Chinese Progressive Association entities in the U.S. and mentions his third article (Sept. 21) on those links in passing.

As The Dispatch knows, a developing story gains relevant new facts along the way. In this case, The Dispatch appears to have looked closely only at Gonzalez’s initial reporting. The wording of your fact-check piece on Walker casts unmerited doubt on Gonzalez’s cumulative reporting and analysis. The Daily Signal stands by his work.

In subsequent articles, and updates to the original, Gonzalez added crucial facts to the public’s understanding of who set up the Chinese Progressive Association entities, when, and why. He established that the San Francisco CPA has supported and defended communist China all along, including recently. He revealed that the China Education and Exposure Program, established by then-San Francisco CPA executive director Alex Tom, brings together leftists from America and China—including members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

As Gonzalez has written, individual Chinese Progressive Association entities have common roots in a radical Marxist group, I Wor Kuen; leaders of the CPAs are members of the same outfits, including LeftRoots; San Francisco CPA co-founder Pam Tau Lee and Boston CPA co-founder Lydia Lowe collaborated on a paper; and Lowe started out at the San Francisco CPA.

Gonzalez demonstrates that the San Francisco CPA was founded to extol the People’s Republic of China. The group behind it, I Wor Kuen, was “the first organization since the early 1950s to openly declare its support within the Chinese community for the People’s Republic of China,” according to an authoritative Marxist study.

Lee, the I Wor Kuen operative who co-founded the San Francisco CPA, has said she saw her mission as enabling people “to celebrate the revolution in China and understand about socialism and learn about the difference between different political systems, and how capitalism here in the United States was really not working for poor people and for poor people in ghettos, like Chinatown.”

Lee’s San Francisco CPA promoted China by showing its movies and played a leading role in driving out pro-Taiwan institutions from positions of authority in Chinatown. Members of the Chinese Progressive Association were invited to visit China to see socialism in action. The San Francisco CPA continues to go to bat for China, signing statements warning against criticism of Beijing.

I Wor Kuen founded at least three Chinese Progressive Association entities in the U.S.—one in San Francisco and spinoffs in Boston and New York. Perhaps it all depends on how you define “chapter”?

At this point, The Daily Signal has no evidence that China directly funds Black Lives Matter organizations. But we are disappointed that The Dispatch appears to miss or dismiss clear evidence compiled by Gonzalez that the San Francisco CPA’s “fiscal sponsorship” of Black Futures Lab, a project of Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza, validates BLM’s Marxist and Maoist stripes.

This is something the legacy media works assiduously to conceal. Why would The Dispatch join in this exercise?

Again, The Daily Signal stands by Mike Gonzalez’s work.

From the Editor:

Our fact-check had two purposes: 1) to determine the accuracy of Herschel Walker’s viral claims about China and BLM, and 2) to provide context to help readers understand the possible sources of his claims. While we provided an assessment of Walker’s claims on Facebook, we did not rate any of the claims published by The Daily Signal. The original reporting by Mike Gonzalez conflated the activities of two Chinese Progressive Associations, as the New York Times report and subsequent updates to The Daily Signal article make clear. Our fact-check reflects this reality and is accurate in all of its particulars.

If you have a claim you would like to see us fact check, please send us an email at factcheck@thedispatch.com. If you would like to suggest a correction to this piece or any other Dispatch article, please email corrections@thedispatch.com.

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Photograph by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images.