In case I didn’t adequately underline just what a corrupt extremist organization the SCLC truly is, I wanted to add a little detail about this claim: “Not only is the SPLC nasty, brutish, extremist and anti-American, but it’s also one of the biggest con games around – an anti-capitalist moneymaking machine.”
Let me take you back five years to see what Harper’s Magazine had to report about the group.
Harper’s published a letter by Stephen Bright, an Atlanta-based civil-rights activist and anti-death-penalty attorney, declining an invitation to an event honoring SPLC’s director, Morris Dees.
“Many of you out there have no doubt received in the mail desperate cries for help from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), the do-gooder group that does very little good considering the vast sums of money it raises. But before you pull out your checkbook, make sure to read the following letter,” advised Ken Silverstein of Harper’s:
Kenneth C. Randall, Dean
and Thomas L. McMillan, Professor of Law
School of Law
University of Alabama
249 Law Center
101 Paul W. Bryant Drive
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487-0382
Dear Dean Randall:
Thank you very much for the invitation to speak at the law school’s commencement in May. I am honored by the invitation, but regret that I am not able to accept it due to other commitments at that time.
I also received the law school’s invitation to the presentation of the “Morris Dees Justice Award,” which you also mentioned in your letter as one of the “great things” happening at the law school. I decline that invitation for another reason. 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.
The award does not recognize the work of others by associating them with Dees; it promotes Dees by associating him with the honorees. Both the law school and Skadden are diminished by being a part of another Dees scam.
Again, thank you for the invitation to participate in your commencement. I wish you and the law school the very best.
Stephen B. Bright
cc: Morris Dees
Dees award committee
Not much more I can add here. Harper’s is hardly a right-wing extremist – and neither is Stephen Bright.
But they came to the same conclusion I did with regard to the sheer corruption of SPLC and its leader.
The only disappointing aspect of this story is that SPLC is still generally treated as a legitimate civil-rights organization by much of the rest of the media – despite the facts.