If you were to imagine all the possible uses for federal Covid relief funds, what do you think would be covered? If you ask the average American, giving $300,000 to a local Black Lives Matter chapter doesn’t seem like much of an essential service. Yet that is exactly what Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker did when he allocated more than a quarter million dollars to the Lake County chapter of BLM with funds that were earmarked for stopping “the increased potential for violence in underserved and disproportionately impacted communities.”
Putting aside the fact that this stated mission doesn’t have much to do with Covid, let’s consider the merits of the recipient. Lake County BLM is headed by Clyde McLemore, an activist with a criminal history and current charges pending against him for felony battery of a police officer and disorderly conduct. He doesn’t seem like the best guy to stop the increased potential for violence in underserved communities. He also does not seem like a great manager either, given the fact that he and his BLM chapter have been served with an eviction notice at their Lake County office. I guess it really is true that no amount of money can cover for incompetence.
Politicians often promise that they will treat taxpayer dollars with the same reverence that they treat their own money, but it is hard to imagine J.B. Pritzker putting up $300,000 of his own money to prop up a loser like Clyde McLemore. This is the problem with huge top-down federal relief packages. The respect for the taxpayer is lost in the shuffle as trillions of dollars are thrown around at political pet projects. Pritzker certainly deserves his share of the blame, but the system as a whole is broken. If we are going to stop this level of mismanagement, we need to restore our Founders’ vision for the role of federal government. Activist efforts should be funded by private citizens, not by the government. It is up to us to demand a greater level of accountability when it comes to how our money is spent by elected officials.