Southern Poverty Law Center: Corrupt and Racist
In the recent Florida Senate Infrastructure & Security Committee hearing allegations were made that the Center for Immigration Studies and Federation for American Immigration Reform are racist. This is an absurd allegation, especially if anyone is actually informed on what SPLC has said and done in recent years – it is literally like the pot calling the kettle black. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a “highly profitable scam” that “never lived up to the values it espoused,” according to former SPLC staffer Bob Moser.
The New Yorker on Thursday published a scathing essay from Moser, now a Rolling Stone reporter, accusing the left-wing non-profit of “ripping off donors” while turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and racial discrimination within its own ranks.
The SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees on March 13 over unspecified conduct issues.
The SPLC announced Dees’ firing after roughly two dozen SPLC employees previously signed a letter to the organization’s leadership expressing their alarm at “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism,” The Los Angeles Times reported.
“The story actually is really, really bad,” said [Tyler] O’Neil. “You had 13 black former employees of the SPLC interviewed. Twelve of them said they witnessed racist incidents in their time there and three of them called the organization a plantation for its black workers.”
Though it remains unclear what led to Dees’ termination last week, SPLC President Richard Cohen said at the time Dees failed to adhere to the organization’s “values,” hinting at misconduct. The Los Angeles Times reported the resignation of an assistant legal director in recent weeks over race and gender equity concerns may have acted as a catalyst for Dees’ removal.
A review of the center’s 2019 board and senior staff reveals that senior leadership at SPLC remains largely white. Last week, multiple employees sent a signed letter to SPLC leadership outlining concerns about workplace culture as well as sexism and racism, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Dees has weathered criticism for decades, with a 1994 Montgomery Advertiser series citing concerns about racial discrimination against black employees. Staffers at the time “accused Morris Dees, the center’s driving force, of being a racist and black employees have ‘felt threatened and banded together.’”
“I guess there’s nothing like a funeral to bring families back together,” another former writer at the center [SPLC] said, speculating about what might have prompted the move. “It could be racial, sexual, financial—that place was a virtual buffet of injustices,” she said. One day later, the Los Angeles Times and the Alabama Political Reporter reported that Dees’s ouster had come amid a staff revolt over the mistreatment of nonwhite and female staffers, which was sparked by the resignation of the senior attorney Meredith Horton, the highest-ranking African-American woman at the center. A number of staffers subsequently signed onto two letters of protest to the center’s leadership, alleging that multiple reports of sexual harassment by Dees through the years had been ignored or covered up, and sometimes resulted in retaliation against the women making the claims. The staffers wrote that Dees’s firing was welcome but insufficient: their larger concern, they emphasized, was a widespread pattern of racial and gender discrimination by the center’s current leadership, stretching back many years.
“I disagree with the Family Research Council’s views on gays and lesbians,” says Washington Post writer Dana Milbank, a reliable liberal. “But it’s absurd to put the group, as the law center does, in the same category as Aryan Nations, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Stormfront and the Westboro Baptist Church.” But Milbank is a lonely skeptic. Most reporters give the SPLC a free pass. Its “hate” determinations are adopted at face value and uncritically retailed to the public. Associated Press writer Claire Galofaro recently told readers the SPLC “lists the Liberty Counsel as an anti-gay hate group for spreading false information.” Her nationally distributed article didn’t help readers assess that stark and damning claim, not even telling her audience where SPLC sits on the ideological spectrum. Here’s a list of what the AP reporter could have mentioned, but didn’t. Despite fawning treatment from most in the press, the Southern Poverty Law Center
- Is a creature of the left that only targets the right
- Uses the “hate” charge like a night stick to bludgeon its ideological foes
- Employs a vague and subjective definition of “hate”
- Inflates the threat posed by “hate” in America
- Earned a failing grade from a charity watchdog
- Ignores the peril posed by radical Islam while tarring Islam’s critics as “Islamophobes”
- Cherry-picks causes to vacuum up cash through breathless appeals
- Has been blasted by former black employees for poor race relations
- Labeled Ben Carson, America’s most prominent neurosurgeon, an “extremist,” later backtracking under heavy criticism.
- Was dropped from the FBI’s list of “hate crime resources”
- Is [now was] led by Morris Dees, a five-times married millionaire called the “arch-salesman of hate mongering” by left-wing writer Alexander Cockburn
“When you get right down to it, all the SPLC does is call people names,” says Laird Wilcox, a researcher of political fringe groups and co-author of American Extremists: Militias, Supremacists, Klansmen, Communists & Others. A long-time member of the American Civil Liberties Union and, for a time, Students for a Democratic Society (“before they went crazy”), Wilcox released his annual “Guide to the American Left,” and “Guide to the American Right” through more than 20 editions. He says the SPLC has… specialized a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation … a way of harming and isolating people by denying their humanity and trying to convert them into something that deserves to be hated and eliminated. They accuse others of this but utilize their enormous resources to practice it on a mass scale themselves.
It [the SLPC] lists Ayaan Hirsi Ali—who grew up Muslim in Somalia and suffered female genital mutilation—as an “anti-Muslim extremist.” Just because she now speaks out against radical Islam.
[John] Stossel notes that they still con people into giving them even more money. Apple gave them $1 million last year.
He says the Southern Poverty Law Center has become a hate group itself. It is now a left-wing, money grabbing, slander machine.
“Basically, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a fraudulent operation,” said Stephen Bright, a Yale University law professor and former director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, which focuses on the death penalty, mass incarceration and other issues.
The Army used to have them [SLPC] lecture on domestic terrorism. The Army has ended that relationship.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has made so many vile, unjustified, hysterical, and hateful accusations over the years, it was bound to pay a price. When it did, the bill due was $3.375 million. Such was the amount the SPLC agreed to pay the British Muslim Maajid Nawaz and his think tank, the Quilliam Foundation, after smearing them in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”
William Jacobson, a law professor at Cornell and critic of the SPLC, says the group has wrapped itself in the mantle of the civil rights struggle to engage in partisan political crusading. “Time and again, I see the SPLC using the reputation it gained decades ago fighting the Klan as a tool to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents,” he says. “For groups that do not threaten violence, the use of SPLC ‘hate group’ or ‘extremist’ designations frequently are exploited as an excuse to silence speech and speakers,” Jacobson adds. “It taints not only the group or person, but others who associate with them.”
Months after paying $3.375 million to Maajid Nawaz’s Quilliam Foundation for admitted falsehood in labeling the advocacy organization as “extremist,” the Southern Poverty Law Center is the focus of a civil action again.
This time, the Center for Immigration Studies filed a federal civil lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) against SPLA President Richard Cohen himself.
According to CIS spokesperson Marguerite Telford, Cohen colleague Heidi Beirich is also named in the filing because she and Cohen conspired together in a scheme to destroy the Center over time. Beirich heads the SPLC so-called “hate group” project and blog.
The case, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, seeks damages and a federal order prohibiting Cohen and Beirich from repeating false claims against CIS.
We can clearly see from the above that the SPLC is 1) called racist by many black members of the staff 2) corrupt/fraudulent 3) engaged in sexual harassment 4) is being sued for making false claims against groups it labels as “hate groups” 5) has had to pay out millions for admitting their falsehood of labeling a person as an “extremist” 6) engages in partisan politics to bludgeon mainstream politically conservative opponents 7) has been labeled a hate group themselves 8) has been dropped by the U.S. Army and FBI and no longer uses any SPLC material. The SLPC has resorted to labeling any person or organization that disagrees with them as a hate group which is of itself hateful.
Why would anyone cite any organization to label a group as a hate group when that very organization itself – the SLPC – has been labeled racist and corrupt and engaged in sexual harassment among other serious charges? Using such a disreputable organization – the SLPC – to label a person or group as anti-immigrant or racist would appear to be questionable strategy and an act of desperation.
Compiled by Robert Windham, volunteer with Floridians for E-verify Now