WASHINGTON – The influential chairman of a committee that oversees the Justice Department is calling out U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the department’s support for, and reliance upon, a far-left group that targets non-violent groups and conservative organizations and accuses them of hate crimes.
WND obtained a copy of a letter sent last week by Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., of the House Judiciary Committee to Lynch questioning her department’s support of the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, in which he asked:
“Given DOJ’s (Justice Department) public support for SPLC, does DOJ also support SPLC’s efforts to list non-violent groups that have no history of committing hate crimes on its hate map?”
To find out what prompted the letter, WND contacted a House Judiciary Comitttee aide, who explained:
“On an interactive ‘hate map’ maintained by the Southern Poverty Law Center, several mainstream conservative groups with no history of violence are being grouped with other organizations like the KKK that do have a history of violence.”
The aide also described just how the DOJ was supporting and using the SPLC:
“By attending events sponsored by SPLC and even listing the group as a resource in the past, DOJ has demonstrated that it has a working relationship with SPLC. The letter seeks to find out more information about DOJ’s position on SPLC’s hate map given that relationship.”
And what specifically triggered the letter?
“Organizations from around the country recently reached out to the House Judiciary Committee regarding this issue.”
(Links to a letter from those organizations, and the letter from Goodlatte to Lynch, are found at the end of this article.)
Examples of non-violent groups on the SPLC’s hate map are the Center for Security Policy, the Family Research Council and even WorldNetDaily, the original name for WND.com.
The SPLC went so far as to label former presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson an “extremist” for his traditional views on marriage, but the group was forced to apologize after coming under severe national criticism.
The letter to the Judiciary Committee was signed by members of the Center for Security Policy and the Family Research Council.
The Center for Security Policy, or CSP, was founded by former Pentagon and Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney, who was recently named to the foreign policy team of GOP presidential candidate Ted Cruz, along with his colleague Clare Lopez, an Iran expert and 20-year CIA veteran.
The SPLC called the CSP, ” a conspiracy-oriented mouthpiece for the growing anti-Muslim movement in the United States” for warning about the Islamic fundamentalist nature of CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood, and their growing influence on the Obama administration.
The Family Research Council, or FRC, is run by ordained minister and former Senate candidate Tony Perkins and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) William G. “Jerry” Boykin, former commander of the US Army’s Delta Force and Green Berets.
The FRC mission says, “Our vision is a culture in which human life is valued, families flourish, and religious liberty thrives.” The SPLC claims “its real specialty is defaming gays and lesbians” because of its support for traditional marriage.
SPLC seems to have a special animus for WND, calling it “devoted to manipulative fear-mongering and outright fabrications designed to further the paranoid, gay-hating, conspiratorial and apocalyptic visions of (WND CEO Joseph) Farah and his hand-picked contributors from the fringes of the far-right and fundamentalist worlds.”
The FRC has a particularly powerful reason to claim is has been dangerously maligned by the SPLC.
That’s because the SPLC’s targeting of the FRC as a hate group almost had deadly consequences.
As WND has detailed, on Aug. 15, 2012, heavily armed homosexual activist Floyd Corkins walked into FRC headquarters in Washington, D.C., and began shooting with the intention of killing “as many people as I could.”
He managed to shoot and injure just one person, facilities manager Leo Johnson, who is credited with heroically stopping the attack.
Corkins, a former volunteer at an LGBT community center, pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism and was sentenced in 2013 by a federal judge to 25 years in prison for attempting a mass shooting.
Corkins admitted he picked FRC because he spotted the organization as listed as an “anti-gay” hate group by the SPLC on its website and its “hate map.”
Asked how he picked the FRC to attack, Corkins stated, “It was a, uh, Southern Poverty Law, lists, uh, anti-gay groups. I found them online. I did a little bit of research, went to the website, stuff like that.”
On this video, Corkins tells the FBI how the SPLC website inspired him to attack the FRC:
The FBI interview with Corkins included this exchange:
FBI: “What was your intention … You’re … a political activist you said?”
Corkins: “Yeah, I wanted to kill the people in the building and then smear a Chicken-fil-A sandwich on their face.”
FBI: “And you, what was your intention when you went in there with the gun?”
Corkins: “Uh, it was to kill as many people as I could.”
At the time of the shooting, Chick-fil-A was in the headlines because of its president’s support for traditional marriage.
The SPLC still lists the FRC as a hate group on its “hate map.”
Boykin, who is FRC executive vice president and a member of the board of WND.com, wants the U.S. government and its agencies to stop working with SPLC and stop citing its work.
At the time of the Corkins sentencing, the general called the map capricious and noted it had no definition of a hate group.
“More importantly, we think what they’re doing is absolutely reckless, particularly given they put us in the same category as groups like the Klu Klux Klan and the skinheads.”
Pressure has to be put on the SPLC to stop this, because, Boykin said, “It is reckless behavior that has, at least in this case, incited someone to want to kill people who don’t believe what they believe and stand for.”
In his letter to Lynch last week, Goodlatte cited the FRC shooting, then wrote, “Nevertheless, the Department of Justice continues to support SPLC’s mission of tracking ‘hate.'”
The FBI was forced to drop the SPLC as a “hate crimes resource” in 2014 due to intense criticism from both the right and the left, but the DOJ’s relationship with the group appears to have survived.
Goodlatte’s letter mentioned how the FBI had dropped the SPLC, but then pointed out:
“[O]n October 14, 2015, Assistant Attorney General John Carlin delivered remarks on domestic terrorism at an event co-sponsored by SPLC and the George Washington University Center for Cyber and Homeland Security’s Program on Extremism. In his written remarks, Mr. Carlin stated that ‘SPLC has a long history of tracking and countering hate, and their efforts will continue to be critical.'”
Indeed, WND reported on Oct. 15, 2015, about the announcement made by Carlin that the DOJ was creating a new division that would focus on investigating “extremists” of the home-grown variety.
Carlin cited a study by a George Soros-funded foundation saying “right wing” extremism was more of a danger to America than Islamic terrorists and he applauded the SPLC’s role in helping the government track these “extremist” groups.
At the time, FRC President Tony Perkins told WND it was ironic that the SPLC should be selected for this quasi-governmental role of determining who is a violent extremist when the organization itself provided the inspiration for a domestic terrorist attack against his organization.
WND devoted the full issue of its March 2015 magazine, Whistleblower, to documenting the machinations of the SPLC with an edition titled: “The Hate Racket: How one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis –and rakes in millions doing it.”
David Kupelian, managing editor of WND and editor of Whistleblower magazine, wrote:
“The Southern Poverty Law Center began with an admirable purpose, but long ago transformed into a machine for raising money and launching leftwing political attacks. In recent years it has become more of a threat to free speech and civil debate than a defender of the weak or a foe of violent extremism.”
“[T]his particular far-left organization exerts a major influence on government, including the Department of Homeland Security. It’s no coincidence that the government’s idea of who is a threat, a hater, an extremist, a potential terrorist, a danger to the American homeland, mirrors that of the Southern Poverty Law Center.
“For years, government agencies including the FBI have relied on and formed partnerships and outreach arrangements with the Southern Poverty Law Center (although the FBI recently scrubbed the SPLC as a resource from its website after the perpetrator of an attempted domestic terrorist attack identified the SPLC as having inspired him to target the D.C.-based Family Research Council for mass murder).
“Nevertheless, as SPLC spokesman Mark Potok confirms, ‘Law enforcement agencies come to us every day with questions about particular groups,’ and even the U.S. military has been caught on multiple occasions relying on SPLC information for “training materials” on domestic threats – sometimes portraying Christians as a greater threat than Islamic radicals.”
The following is a link to the letter Goodlatte sent to Lynch:
The following is a link to the letter concerned groups sent to Goodlatte.
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