THE SPLC

Although the SPLC (including its Intelligence Project) is respected by many, its conduct for decades has provoked sharp, well-founded criticism for a multitude of reasons and across a broad spectrum of political viewpoints.   For example:

      The SPLC’s Aim Is Not Merely to Monitor but to Destroy the “Hate Groups” It Defines. The SPLC’s 501c3 tax status rests on its supposed educational mission of monitoring “hate groups” and hateful persons, as it defines them.  The reality, however, is that the SPLC does not merely monitor but seeks to destroy these groups and persons.  Not only does the SPLC’s conduct demonstrate its destructive aims, but Potok and Beirich have boasted about them. Many observers have noted this.

For example, Karl Zinsmeister, former Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and a leading national authority on philanthropy, recently noted in an article in the Spring 2017 issue of Philanthropy Magazine:

“It is entirely fair to disagree with any of these charities or individuals [on the SPLC “Hate List”]—but utterly unfair to insist they are hate criminals. The largest category on the SPLC “haters” list is “anti-government groups.” (663 entries!) This dragnet catches the tea party and patriot organizations that are suspicious of centralized power, which last we checked was a long and honorable American tradition.

What is not part of an honorable American tradition is the course of action prescribed by top SPLC leader Mark Potok: “Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on…. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.” (To see him say it, start at minute 1:35 of this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnTz2ylJo_8&feature=reImfu).”

https://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/philanthropy-magazine/article/spring-2017-briefly-noted (eighth through ten paragraphs).

As a further example, Professor Carol Swain, a retired professor at Vanderbilt University and an African-American, in an article in the September 11, 2017 Wall Street Journal described how the SPLC smeared her and targeted her for destruction because she had advocated a more inclusive dialogue on race issues than the SPLC is willing to permit. Professor Swain stated:

“The SPLC’s retaliation was vicious and effective.  . . . On Oct. 17, 2009, my photo appeared on the front page of my local newspaper, the Tennessean, with the quote: ‘Carol Swain is an apologist for white supremacists.’ That was Mark Potok, at the time the SPLC’s national spokesman. The context for Mr. Potok’s attack was a review I gave for a film titled ‘A Conversation About Race.’ I endorsed it for classroom use because it offered a perspective on race rarely encountered on university campuses. Mr. Potok argued that the filmmaker was a bigot. I felt then and now that the perspective needed to be heard.

This negative article was featured on the front pages of several newspapers and it went viral, especially in black media outlets. . . . Being targeted by the SPLC has had a lasting impact on my life and career. Offers from other universities ended and speaking opportunities declined. Once you’ve been smeared in this way, mainstream news outlets are less likely to cite you as an expert of any kind.

Yet today I wear the SPLC’s mud as a badge of honor because I know I am in the company of many good men and women who have been similarly vilified for standing for righteousness and truth. Other SPLC targets have included Ben Carson (who eventually received an apology and retraction), Somali refugee Ayaan Hirsi Ali, terrorism expert Steve Emerson, political scientist Guenter Lewy (who successfully sued the SPLC), attorney Robert Muise, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and Princeton professor Robert P. George. The SPLC has tagged Mr. George, a devout Catholic intellectual, as ‘anti-LGBT.’

Whatever label the SPLC assigns, such smears are harmful and designed to destroy the individual’s credibility and ability to have influence in the public square.

Some of those vilified by the SPLC have been subjected to even worse treatment. The Family Research Council and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise have been violently attacked by individuals inspired by the propaganda the SPLC regularly dishes out—which is often accepted without criticism and passed on by media, law-enforcement agencies and universities.” https://www.wsj.com/articles/what-its-like-to-be-smeared-by-the-southern-poverty-law-center-1505171221

Further, on September 6, 2017 leaders of 47 nonprofits sent an open letterto the media warning that the SPLC’s list of so-called “hate groups” is false and lacks any semblance of credibility.  The letter states the SPLC is “a discredited, left-wing, political activist organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with a ‘hate group’ label of its own invention and application that is not only false and defamatory, but that also endangers the lives of those targeted with it.”  The leaders cited both political and media figures debunking the SPLC and highlighted the FBI’s removal of the SPLC as a “trusted source” for Hate Crimes in 2014.

http://downloads.frc.org/EF/EF17I05.pdf

Potok openly proclaims the SPLC’s destructive aims. The SPLC’s anti-free expression motives are all the more egregious given that it specifically targets ideas, as Potok has also acknowledged: “Our criteria for a hate group, first of all, have nothing to do with criminality, or violence, or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological.” https://archive.org/details/MarkPotok    (track 9).

Laird Wilcox, a respected scholar on political fringe groups, winner of the Mencken Award, and longtime ACLU member, in a 2010 interview noted the SPLC’s modus operandi of using ritual defamation to destroy groups it characterizes as hate groups:

“When you get right down to it, all the SPLC does is call people names.  It’s specialized a highly developed and ritualized form of defamation, however—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. . .  Anyone attacked by the SPLC is basically up against a contest of resources, from the ability to engage legal counsel, to the access to fairness in media treatment, to the ability to survive the financial destruction of a reputation or a career. What they do is a kind of bullying and stalking. They pick people who are vulnerable in terms of public opinion and simply destroy them. Their victims are usually ordinary people expressing their values, opinions, and beliefs—and they’re up against a very talented and articulate defamation machine.”

http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_20_3/tsc_20_3_wilcox_interview.shtml.

      The SPLC Engages in Actions that Are Illegal, Tortious, Unethical, and Violative of Internal Revenue Service Requirements for a 501c3 Organization.  The SPLC’s 501c3 tax exempt status rests on the predicate that it is a public service law firm – National Taxonomy of Exempt Entities (NTEE) Code I83 – with an educational mission.   Under Internal Revenue Service Code 4.76.9.3, which defines the Public Interest Criteria a public service law firm must adhere to to receive or maintain 501c3 tax status:

2.   The organization can not attempt to achieve its objectives by illegal activity or through a program of disruption of the judicial system.

3.   The organization can not violate any canons of legal ethics.

Given that the SPLC presents itself, for tax and other purposes, as a law firm, all its employees, lawyers and nonlawyers alike, including defendants Beirich and Potok, are subject to compliance with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. See Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3.

The SPLC, its employees, and the Intelligence Project, however, not only commit illegal, tortious, and unethical actions but boast about them. These include:

  • Receipt of stolen property, as described in Paragraphs 60-68 of the Allen v. SPLC complaint.
  • Commercial bribery, as described in Paragraphs 60-68 of the complaint.
  • Multiple instances of mail and wire fraud, as described in Paragraphs 102-117 and 144-150 of the complaint.
  • Making false statements on a tax form, specifically on the SPLC’s 2016 Form 990, in which the SPLC falsely claimed it had not participated in partisan political campaign activity when in reality it had opposed Trump and other conservative republican candidates in over a hundred published statements — and boasted about its partisan campaigning — as described in Paragraphs 117-118 of the complaint.
  • Tortious actions including invasion of privacy, tortious interference with contract and with prospective advantage, defamation, and negligent training and supervision, as described in Paragraphs 159-197 of the complaint.
  • Violations of attorney Rules of Professional Conduct, including:
  • Rule 8.4(b) (“It is professional misconduct for an attorney to: (b) commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the lawyer’s honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a lawyer in other respects”), as described in Paragraphs 60-66, 95, 102-118, and 120 of the complaint;
  • Rule 8.4(c) (“It is professional misconduct for an attorney to: (c) engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation”), as described in Paragraphs 60-66, 95, 102-118, and 120 of this complaint;
  • Rule 8.4(d) (“It is professional misconduct for an attorney to: (d) engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice”), as described in Paragraphs 60-66, 95, 102-118, and 119 of the complaint;
  • Rule 4.4(a) (“In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person”), as described in Paragraphs 60-66 of the complaint;
  • Rule 4.4(b) (“A lawyer who receives a document that on its face appears to be subject to the attorney-client privilege or otherwise confidential, and who knows or reasonably should know that the document was inadvertently sent, should promptly notify the sender and (1) abide by the reasonable instructions of the sender regarding the disposition of the document; or (2) submit the issue to an appropriate tribunal for a determination of the disposition of the document”), as described in Paragraphs 72-75 and 79 of the Complaint;
  • Rule 4.1(a) (“In representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly: (1) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or (2) fail to disclose a material fact when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client”), as described in Paragraphs 60-66, 95, 102-118, and 120 of the complaint;
  • Rule 4.2(a) (“[I]n representing a client, a lawyer shall not communicate about the subject of the representation with a person who the lawyer knows is represented in the matter by another lawyer unless the lawyer has the consent of the other lawyer or is authorized by law or court order to do so”), as described in Paragraphs 60-66 of the complaint;
  • Rule 1.15(b) (“(b) Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or third person has an interest from a source other than the client or the third person, a lawyer shall promptly notify the client or third person”), as described in Paragraphs 72-75 and 79 of the complaint;
  • Rule 5.3 (“With respect to a nonlawyer employed or retained by or associated with a lawyer: (a) A partner in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance that the person’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer; (b) A lawyer having direct supervisory authority over the nonlawyer shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the person’s conduct is compatible with the professional obligations of the lawyer”), as described in Paragraphs 72-76 of the complaint;
  • Rule 1.2(b) (“A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social or moral views or activities”), as described in Paragraph 86 of the complaint.
  • Rule 6.2 comment (“All lawyers have a responsibility to assist in providing pro bono publico service. See Rule 6.1. An individual lawyer fulfills this responsibility by accepting a fair share of unpopular matters or indigent or unpopular clients”), as described in Paragraph 86 of the complaint.
  • Morris Dees, acting on behalf of the SPLC, has menaced and harassed with a loaded weapon, specifically a shotgun.  On page 101 of his 1991 autobiography, A Season For Justice, Dees brags about holding a shotgun to the head of a man named Claude Henley.  Dees repeats the claim on page 101 of his second autobiography in 2003, A Lawyer’s Journey: The Morris Dees Story.  http://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-6-23.html Alabama criminal statute prohibiting menacing: http://codes.findlaw.com/al/title-13a-criminal-code/al-code-sect-13a-11-8.html (Alabama criminal statute prohibiting harassment).

In addition to the 501c3 requirements specific to a public interest law firm, the SPLC, like other 501c3 tax exempt organizations, is subject to the general prohibition against participating or intervening in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) “any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” 26 CFR 1.501(c)(3) – 1 (c)(3)(iii);  https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/26/1.501%28c%29%283%29-1.  Even if a statement does not explicitly advise the public to vote for or against a candidate, the prohibition is violated if there is any message favoring or opposing a candidate for public office.  Moreover, 501c3 exemption is lost from participation in political campaigning even if the participation did not form a substantial part of the organization’s activities.  United States v. Dykema, 666 F.2d 1096, 1101 (7th Cir. 1981).

The SPLC has violated this prohibition flagrantly and repeatedly, as described in Paragraphs 116-117 of the complaint.

      The SPLC’s Dominant Objective Is Lucrative Fundraising.  The SPLC has developed highly remunerative fundraising techniques during the 45 years since its creation in 1971 by Morris Dees.  By 1994, its net assets totaled approximately $52 million; by 1999, approximately $120 million; by 2005, approximately $168 million.  By 2016, its total endowment fund was $319,283, 961 and its total assets were $353,178,928. https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/splc_fs_103116.pdf.  For the fiscal year 2017, its endowment exploded to $432 million.  https://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/2018/04/

Each year adds substantially to its net assets. In 2015, for example, according to the Charity Navigator its net income exceeded its expenses by nearly $9 million.  According to the SPLC’s 2015 Form 990 (page 10), https://www.splcenter.org/sites/default/files/990_103116.pdf    in 2015 it paid $14,466,227 in “compensation to unqualified persons.”  By 2017, its net income exceeded operational expenses by a staggering $76,589,303.  https://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/2018/04/.  The SPLC parks large amounts of its huge endowment in offshore accounts, a questionable practice for a domestic 501c3 nonprofit.

A recent article in Politico entitled “Has A Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way?” notes that the SPLC now has 250 staffers in four states and that its enormous headquarters building in Montgomery, Alabama “is testament to the fact that, in America, even fighting racism can be very good business.” http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/06/28/morris-dees-splc-trump-southern-poverty-law-center-215312.  The article included the a photograph of one floor of the inside of the SPLC’s massive office building in Montgomery.

This incredible fundraising richesse has captured the SPLC’s soul and skewed its mission. A legion of critics, over many years and across the political spectrum, have noted this corruption.  For example:

  • “[T]he SPLC’s core mission . . . is to separate progressives from their dollars.” “The SPLC has become a kind of Weimar Republic of hate inflation.  Its list of ‘hate groups’ looks increasingly like a way of attacking ordinary conservatives.”  “An easy way to ratchet up hatred, and the passion that makes people open their checkbooks, is to accuse others of hate.”  8/23/2018 article by Kyle Smith entitled “Essentially a Fraud” in the National Review Magazine.  https://www.nationalreview.com/magazine/2018/09/10/southern-poverty-law-center-essentially-a-fraud/
  • “[The SPLC] has become a caricature of itself, labeling virtually anyone who does not fall in line with its left-wing ideology an ‘extremist’ or ‘hate group.’” “Sliming conservatives is big business.”  6/22/18 article by Marc Thiessen entitled “The Southern Poverty Law Center Has Lost All Credibility” in The Washington Post.  https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-southern-poverty-law-center-has-lost-all-credibility/2018/06/21/22ab7d60-756d-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html?utm_term=.8c0cb2dfaee3
  • “The SPLC is a cash-collecting machine. In 2015 it vacuumed up $50 million in contributions and foundation grants, a tidy addition to its $334 million holdings of cash and securities and its headquarters worth $34 million. ‘They’ve never spent more than 31 percent of the money they were bringing in on programs, and sometimes they spent as little as 18 percent. Most nonprofits spend about 75 percent on programs,’ noted Jim Tharpe, managing editor of the SPLC’s hometown newspaper, the Montgomery ­Advertiser, in a talk at Harvard’s Nieman Foundation for Journalism. Other reporters who have wised up to the SPLC hustle have noted in exposés how ironic it is that a group proclaiming itself a civil-rights organization has rarely used black attorneys or included any significant number of African Americans on its staff or board.” Karl Zinsmeister, Philanthropy Today (Spring 2017):  https://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/philanthropy-magazine/article/spring-2017-briefly-noted
  • “The SPLC’s main role is as a massively funded propaganda machine . . . SPLC founder Morris Dees was inducted into the Direct Marketing Hall of Fame in 1998. That should tell you a lot.  Dees’ experience as an ultra-successful direct mail marketer well precedes his SPLC days.  Perhaps he employed those skills while working on George Wallace’s 1958 gubernatorial campaign . . . But critics say he got especially wealthy while at the SPLC, building what they’ve called his ‘poverty palaces,’ by guilt-tripping and virtue–signaling a load of affluent white donors who identify as progressives.”  Stella Morabito, The Federalist (May 17, 2017), Twelve Ways the Southern Poverty Law Center Is a Scam to Profit from Hate-Mongeringhttp://thefederalist.com/2017/05/17/12-ways-southern-poverty-law-center-scam-profit-hate-mongering/
  • “’Alas, these days the SPLC is mainly a fundraising machine,’” said Gail Heriot, a US Commission on Civil Rights member who voted against Friday’s resolution. “’The more it can persuade its donors that hate groups have penetrated every nook and cranny of American society, the more money it can raise. . . . The SPLC has no credibility with anyone — on the left or the right — who is familiar with its methods.’” (12/5/2016 article in NY Post:  http://nypost.com/2016/12/05/report-buried-trump-related-hate-crimes-against-white-kids/)
  • “Morris Dees is a con man and fraud, as I and others, such as U.S. Circuit Judge Cecil Poole, have observed and as has been documented by John Egerton, Harper’s, the Montgomery Advertiser in its ‘Charity of Riches’ series, and others. The positive contributions Dees has made to justice – most undertaken based upon calculations as to their publicity and fundraising potential – are far overshadowed by what Harper’s described as his ‘flagrantly misleading’ solicitations for money. He has raised millions upon millions of dollars with various schemes, never mentioning that he does not need the money because he has $175 million and two ‘poverty palace’ buildings in Montgomery. He has taken advantage of naive, well-meaning people – some of moderate or low incomes – who believe his pitches and give to his $175-million operation. He has spent most of what they have sent him to raise still more millions, pay high salaries, and promote himself. Because he spends so much on fundraising, his operation spends $30 million a year to accomplish less than what many other organizations accomplish on shoestring budgets.” Joseph Farah, 5/30/2012 article in World Net Daily.com, quoting a 2007 letter from Stephen Bright, Professor at Yale Law School and Director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, to the Dean of the University of Alabama Law School: http://www.wnd.com/2012/05/morris-dees-is-a-con-man-fraud/
  • “Ever since 1971 US Postal Service mailbags have bulged with Dees’ fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of hate-sodden America, in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC. . . . Dees and his hate-seekers scour the landscape for hate like the arms manufacturers inventing new threats and for the same reason: it’s their staple.” (5/15/2009 article in Counterpunch by J. St. Clair and A. Cockburn: http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/05/15/king-of-the-hate-business/)
  • “The Southern Poverty Law Center is a thriving business . . . Its business is fundraising, and its success at raking in the cash is based on its ability to sell gullible people on the idea that present-day America is awash in white racism and anti-Semitism, which it will fight tooth-and-nail as the public interest law firm it purports to be. That might lead a skeptic to wonder why it spends little on litigation and why Mr. Dees pockets a lot of money sent in by panicked donors who buy into the smear campaigns against organizations or prominent individuals who question racial preference programs. . . .  To me and to other observant conservatives, the Southern Poverty Law Center is a clever scam, relentlessly cultivating for profit the fear that this nation is filled with Klansmen and rife with people eager to perpetrate genocide.”  (12/08/2008 article in Baltimore Sun by R. Smith: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2008-12-03/news/0812020076_1_pietrzak-poverty-law-southern-poverty)
  • “Today, the SPLC spends most of its time–and money–on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate. ‘He’s the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,’ renowned anti- death-penalty lawyer Millard Farmer says of Dees, his former associate, ‘though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.”  “The Ku Klux Klan, the SPLC’s most lucrative nemesis, has shrunk from 4 million members in the 1920s to an estimated 2,000 today, as many as 10 percent of whom are thought to be FBI informants.  <http://www.servtech.com/~grugyn/kkk-5.htm> . But news of a declining Klan does not make for declining donations to Morris Dees and Co., which is why the SPLC honors nearly every nationally covered ‘hate crime’ with direct-mail alarums full of nightmarish invocations of ‘armed Klan paramilitary forces’ and ‘violent neo-Nazi extremists,’ and why Dees does legal battle almost exclusively with mediagenic villains-like Idaho’s arch-Aryan Richard Butler-eager to show off their swastikas for the news cameras.”
  • “In 1987, Dees won a $7 million judgment against the United Klans of America on behalf of Beulah Mae Donald, whose son was lynched by two Klansmen. The UKA’s total assets amounted to a warehouse whose sale netted Mrs. Donald $51,875. According to a groundbreaking series of newspaper stories in the Montgomery Advertiser, the SPLC, meanwhile, made $9 million from fund-raising solicitations featuring the case, including one containing a photo of Michael Donald’s corpse.”
  • “The SPLC’s ‘other important work justice’ consists mainly in spying on private citizens who belong to ‘hate groups,’ sharing its files with law-enforcement agencies, and suing the most prominent of these groups for crimes committed independently by their members-a practice that, however seemingly justified, should give civil libertarians pause. The legal strategy employed by Dees could have put the Black Panther Party out of business or bankrupted the New England Emigrant Aid Company in retaliation for crimes committed by John Brown. What the Center’s other work for justice does not include is anything that might be considered controversial by donors. According to Millard Farmer, the Center largely stopped taking death-penalty cases for fear that too visible an opposition to capital punishment would scare off potential contributors. In 1986, the Center’s entire legal staff quit in protest of Dees’s refusal to address issues-such as homelessness, voter registration, and affirmative action-that they considered far more pertinent to poor minorities, if far less marketable to affluent benefactors, than fighting the KKK.”

(November 2000 article in Harper’s Magazine by Ken Silverstein entitled “The Church of Morris Dees”: https://rkeefe57.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/church-of-morris-dees.pdf.

      The SPLC Is Hypocritical.  The SPLC does not apply the same standards to itself that it uses for the “Hate Groups” it defines.  One of its favored smear tactics is to proclaim “links” or “ties” between disturbed individuals who commit violent acts and “Hate Groups” based on highly tenuous connections between the individuals and the groups.  For example, a November 2015 article on the SPLC website that blazons the headline “Former National Alliance Supporter Charged with Murder and Evidence Tampering” describes a man named Collins who was charged with murdering a man named Kelly. Collins is described as a National Alliance “supporter” because he once bought literature from the National Alliance;  no connection whatever is shown in the article between that purchase and Kelly’s murder.  Nonetheless the SPLC links the murder to the National Alliance.

Contrast this to the 2012 Floyd Corkins incident, in which Corkins,  inspired by the SPLC’s designation of  the Family Research Council (FRC),  an American conservative Christian group, as a “Hate Group” and using the SPLC website’s Hate Map for approximate directions, walked into the FRC’s offices with the intent to kill as many people as he could and did shoot and badly wound a security guard.  http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/06/justice/dc-family-research-council-shooting/http://hotair.com/archives/2013/04/24/frc-shooter-i-targeted-them-because-splc-list-said-they-were-anti-gay/.  The SPLC, however, decries as “outrageous” any attempt to tie or link it to Corkins’ murderous rampage.  In short, if a person buys literature from an SPLC “Hate Group” and then commits a crime, the SPLC links the person to the Hate Group, even if the purchase of literature had no connection with the crime; but if a person explicitly uses the SPLC “Hate Group” designation and Hate Map as a blueprint for murder –   no “links” or “ties” there.

The SPLC’s double standards were also prominently displayed with respect to James Hodgkinson’s murderous attacks on conservative congressmen in June 2017. The SPLC acknowledged that Hodgkinson was “consumed with anti-Trump anger,” https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2017/06/14/gunman-who-fired-congressional-baseball-team-consumed-anti-trump-anger but omitted to acknowledge that the SPLC had aggressively fomented anti-Trump anger for well over a year prior to the attacks.  A filing in April 2017 by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) with the Secretary of the Treasury details well over a hundred instances in which the SPLC viciously attacked Trump in the period from June 2015 to July 2016.  http://www.fairus.org/DocServer/media/SPLC_Complaint.pdf.  Hodgkinson was a follower of the SPLC, having liked it on Facebook. Yet the SPLC accepted no responsibility for Hodgkinson’s actions.  One commentator described the SPLC’s disclaimers as follows:  “SPLC’s president Richard Cohen naturally and predictably disavowed any influence or responsibility whatsoever, though it has been stirring up hatred by demonizing groups like FRC and the American Family Association for years. . . . They’re like a guy who gives gasoline and matches to a teenager and then feigns innocence and utter shock when the kid burns down a house.” http://www.afa.net/the-stand/culture/2017/06/splc-should-add-liberals-to-its-hate-group-list/ 

The SPLC’s demonizing of the political scientist and author Charles A. Murray also manifests the SPLC’s double standards. Murray has disclosed that he has been subjected to threats and physical violence because of the SPLC’s characterization of him as an “extremist,” https://www.aei.org/publication/reflections-on-the-revolution-in-middlebury/,  a characterization permeated with false statements.  https://www.aei.org/publication/charles-murrays-splc-page-as-edited-by-charles-murray/.  The SPLC, however, has never accepted any responsibility for the physical assaults on Murray.

The SPLC uses the word “Poverty” in its name but in reality is fabulously wealthy. Much of that wealth finds its way into its luxurious offices, which Stephen Bright (whose credentials as head of the Southern Human Rights Center are impeccable) characterized as “Poverty Palaces,” and into Morris Dees’ sumptuous lifestyle. http://24ahead.com/s/montgomery-advertiser. In reality, although the SPLC has “poverty” in its title, its aims have little to do with alleviating poverty, as defendant Potok  acknowledged in a 2008 interview:  “In the 70’s … ‘poverty law’ was actually the phrase … it was a phrase used that just applied to … essentially … civil rights law … to kind of human rights legal actions. I know a couple years ago there was a big discussion internally [at the SPLC], ‘Should we change our name to something else?’ . . . People think, you know, that it’s all about, sort of, defending poor people, and that’s not really, exactly what our mission is. By that time, people knew the name so well that, you know, we made, I think, the obviously right decision not to change the name.”    https://archive.org/details/MarkPotok at track 1.

The SPLC postures itself as a defender of African-Americans but has been, and remains, subject to well-grounded criticism regarding its own treatment of African-Americans.   A 1994 series in the Montgomery, Alabama Advertiser, for example, noted the lack of African-Americans in the SPLC’s management and the complaints by several African-Americans of poor, indeed racist, treatment by the SPLC:  “Of 13 black former center staffers contacted, 12 said they either experienced or observed racial problems inside the Law Center. Three said they heard racial slurs, three likened the center to a plantation and two said they had been treated better at predominantly white corporate law firms. . .  According to internal memorandums, staffers have accused Morris Dees, the center’s driving force, of being a racist and black employees have ‘felt threatened and banded together.’”  https://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/montgomery-advertiser-series/  And for 47 years, up to and  including 2017, there have been no African-Americans among the SPLC’s highest paid officers. https://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/2018/04/ (April 15, 2018 article);  https://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/splc-executive-suite-2015-as-white-as-ever/.

      The SPLC Has an Anti-Christian Bias.   The SPLC’s definition of a “hate group” is so permeated with subjective criteria that the SPLC can, and does, use it selectively to support its own political agenda.  As George Yancey, a professor at the University of North Texas (and an African-American) noted in his recent study, “As our society became more politically partisan, SPLC cemented its position as speaking for those with progressive political and social attitudes. Rather than developing into an objective clearinghouse for the identification of hatred – no matter where the source of that hatred may develop – SPLC has become a useful organization for progressives to legitimate their battle against conservatives. Since conservative Christians are categorized as opponents there is little, if any, incentive for SPLC to recognize hateful expressions against Christians, because doing so actually works against the social vested interest of the group.”  http://www.christianpost.com/news/southern-poverty-law-center-biased-in-labeling-family-research-council-a-hate-group-academic-study-argues-115612/http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/03/10/southern-poverty-law-center-ingores-liberal-hate/.

Another example of the SPLC’s anti-Christian bias was noted by Peter Pappas in his book Fanning the Flames (2012) at page 192: “The SPLC’s anti-Christian agenda is betrayed as much by the groups it has chosen not to list as by those it lists  . . . the SPLC’s antigay list [which includes numerous Christian organizations] does not contain the name of a single mosque or Muslim organization. Maybe the SPLC is unaware of how Sharia law deal with homosexuals . . . The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) calls homosexual relationships a ‘deviation’ from the law of Allah.  ISNA is not listed as an anti-gay hate group on the SPLC site . . The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) . . . [is] an organization that aims to implement Sharia law, an Islamic legal system that punishes homosexuality with death.  CAIR is likewise not listed by the SPLC as an anti-gay hate group.”  See also  Awadh Binhazim, Mulsim Chaplain and Adjunct Professor at Vanderbilt, acknowledging and defending  Sharia law that requires death for homosexuals;  the SPLC has not criticized Binhazim):  https://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2010/02/chaplain-at-vanderbilt-university-defends-death-penalty-for-homosexual.

     The SPLC Is Remarkably Arrogant. Seeing itself as not only equal but superior to a governmental agency, the SPLC, and Beirich in particular, adopts a peremptory, Grand Inquisitor style tone toward the “hate groups” the SPLC defines, demanding immediate and satisfactory (to the SPLC) answers to multiple questions at pain of having the SPLC deploy its remarkably effective weapons of destruction – its ritual defamation techniques, as the scholar Laird Wilcox describes them. See, for example, the following exchange:  http://www.thesocialcontract.com/answering_our_critics/splc_letter_tanton.html