Southern Poverty Law Center
The source most often cited by the Hillary Clinton campaign in its effort to brand Donald Trump and his followers as purveyors of “Ku Klux Klan values” is a wealthy organization with a $300 million endowment that has no minorities among its 10 executive leaders, who each make hundreds of thousands of dollars annually.

It was the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s formulation of what it calls the “alt-right” that provided the grist for Clinton’s attack last week on Trump in a speech in Reno, Nevada, in which she smeared a huge swath of the Republican Party base as white supremacists who are “taking a hate movement mainstream.”

Hillary Clinton

SPLC, founded in 1971 by attorneys Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr., describes itself as “the premier U.S. non-profit organization monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups and other extremists – including the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, black separatists, antigovernment militias, Christian Identity adherents and others.”

Early on, the group made a name for itself fighting discrimination in the South, but today it is primarily a leftist attack machine that, with the increasingly irrelevance of the KKK, has broadened its scope to attack respected organizations and opinion leaders whose legitimate policy differences put them to its right.

Get the Whistleblower Magazine’s revelations about the SPLC, in its March 2015 edition of “The Hate Racket,” the complete story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.

The late left-wing writer Alexander Cockburn wrote a scathing column in 2009 describing Dees as the “arch-salesman of hate mongering.’

“Ever since 1971, U.S. Postal Service mailbags have bulged with his 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,” Cockburn wrote.

“But where are the haters?” he asked. “That hardy old standby, the KKK, despite the SPLC’s predictable howls about an uptick in its chapters, is a moth-eaten and depleted troupe, at least 10 percent of them on the government payroll as informants for the FBI.”

Dees also was scorched in a 1996 letter from prominent civil-rights attorney Stephen Bright, a recipient of the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award and the ACLU’s Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty.

“You are a fraud and a conman,” wrote Bright, citing “your failure to respond to the most desperate needs of the poor and powerless despite your millions upon millions, your fund-raising techniques, the fact that you spend so much, accomplish so little, and promote yourself so shamelessly.”

While SPLC broadens the scope of its “racist” and “hate” label, the organization’s senior executive staff a whites-only club, “just as it has been every single year since the company opened for business in 1971,” notes the Watching the Watchdogs blog.

According to SPLC’s tax return for the fiscal year ending Oct. 31, 2015, 10 senior execs made more than $150,000, with Dees leading the way with $382,692 and President/CEO Richard Cohen making $380,418.

“With nearly 300 employees, more than $54,000,000 in revenues for each of the past two years, and more than $302,000,000 in cash-on-hand, what possible excuse can Messers Dees, Levin and Cohen make for keeping minorities out of the company’s Executive Suite for FORTY-FIVE consecutive years running?” the blog asked.

SPLC executives (Watchdog the Watchdogs blog)

More criticism from the left

The well-known liberal magazine Harper’s also took SPLC to task.

Author Ken Silverstein, head of the magazine’s Washington bureau, noted in a 2000 story that SPLC’s most beloved nemesis, the Ku Klux Klan, had “shrunk from 4 million members in the 1920s to an estimated 2,000 today.”

Silverstein showed how SPLC nevertheless continued to ply its naïve donor base with hair-raising tales of rightwing hate groups on the march through America’s highways and byways.

A few quotes from the Harper’s exposé “The Church of Morris Dees”:

  • Horrifying as such incidents are, hate groups commit almost no violence. More than 95 percent of all “hate crimes,” including most of the incidents SPLC letters cite (bombings, church burnings, school shootings), are perpetrated by “lone wolves.” Even Timothy McVeigh, subject of one of the most extensive investigations in the FBI’s history – and one of the most extensive direct-mail campaigns in the SPLC’s – was never credibly linked to any militia organization.
  • The American Institute of Philanthropy gives the Center one of the worst ratings of any group it monitors, estimating that the SPLC could operate for 4.6 years without making another tax-exempt nickel from its investments or raising another tax-deductible cent from well-meaning “people like you.”
  • 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. Another lawyer, Gloria Browne, who resigned a few years later, told reporters that the Center’s programs were calculated to cash in on “black pain and white guilt.”
  • In the early 1960s, Dees sat on the sidelines honing his direct-marketing skills and practicing law while the civil rights movement engulfed the South. “Morris and I … shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money,” recalls Dees’s business partner, a lawyer named Millard Fuller. “We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.”

‘Smearing billions of Christians and Jews worldwide’

Former Boston Herald writer Don Feder wrote in 2007 that what makes SPLC “particularly odious is its habit of taking legitimate conservatives and jumbling them with genuine hate groups (the Klan, Aryan Nation, skinheads, etc.), to make it appear that there’s a logical relationship between, say, opposing affirmative action and lynching, or demands for an end to government services for illegal aliens and attacks on dark-skinned immigrants.”

Matt Barber, then vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, said after a 2011 protest at SPLC headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama, that SPLC “has moved from monitoring actual hate groups like the KKK and neo-Nazis to slandering mainstream Christian organizations with that very same ‘hate group’ label.”

Ben Carson

Barber was part of a coalition of black pastors and pro-family organizations holding the protest.

“By extension, the SPLC is smearing billions of Christians and Jews worldwide as ‘haters,’ simply because they embrace the traditional Judeo-Christian sexual ethic,” he said.

Among SPLC’s targets has been former GOP presidential hopeful Dr. Ben Carson, who was labeled a hater because he defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

From the SPLC website: “Ben Carson rapidly ascended as a far-right political star after publicly scolding President Obama, whom he sat a few feet away from, at a National Prayer Breakfast in February 2013. Carson’s reproach of Obama for his health care and tax policies went viral, unleashing a flood of adulation from right-wing media and hate groups.”

Labeling Carson “anti-gay,” SPLC quoted the famed neurosurgeon’s views on marriage: “Marriage is between a man and a woman. It’s a well-established pillar of society and no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality – it doesn’t matter what they are, they don’t get to change the definition.”

In response to being branded an extremist by SPLC, Carson issued a warning.

“When embracing traditional Christian values is equated to hatred, we are approaching the stage where wrong is called right and right is called wrong,” he said. “It is important for us to once again advocate true tolerance.

“That means being respectful of those with whom we disagree and allowing people to live according to their values without harassment. It is nothing but projectionism when some groups label those who disagree with them as haters.”

Feder, in his column, noted that in a 2006 speech at Arkansas’ Fayetteville State University, SPLC’s founding president, Julian Bond, charged that the Republican Party’s “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika (sic) flying side by side.”

The American Enterprise Institute, without explanation, Feder said, was described by SPLC as part of “an array of right-wing foundations and think tanks [that] support efforts to make bigoted or discredited ideas respectable.”

Last year, SPLC branded the World Congress of Families – a respected international Christian coalition that opposes same-sex marriage, pornography and abortion – as an “anti-LGBT hate group.”

SPLC also blasted the Drudge Report for covering “black crime,” charging the highly influential Internet news aggregator had been “rife with what the online publisher calls ‘scary black people’ stories.”

Ben Shapiro, then a Breitbart News editor, was accused on SPLC’s “Hatewatch” pages of quoting FBI “hate crime statistics” to show there are about the “same number of attacks on Jews in this country as there are homosexuals.”

In October 2015, SPLC tried to interfere in the running of the Values Voter Summit, which annually features leading conservative voices gathered to discuss issues of faith and public policy.

SPLC wrote letters to GOP presidential candidates urging them not speak at the conference, because the organizers have “an extensive record of vilifying gays and lesbians with falsehoods – portraying them as sick, evil, incestuous, violent, perverted and a danger to the nation.”

The organizations describe their position differently, explaining they are simply adhering to biblical standards regarding sexual behavior.

Nothing about the imams?

Jihad Watch Director Robert Spencer, in a 2014 column for Frontpage Magazine, called SPLC’s hate groups list “a cudgel, a tool for the use of leftist enemies of the freedom of speech.”

He noted that when he is invited to speak, often “leftists and Islamic supremacists avid to shut down honest discussion of jihad terror and Islamic supremacism contact the event organizers, tell them that the SPLC classifies us as ‘hate group leaders,’ and all too often, ignorant or cowardly officials, unaware of or indifferent to how they’re being played and anxious to avoid “controversy,” cancel the event.”

San Bernardino killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in a security camera photo at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on July 27, 2014.

San Bernardino killers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik in a security camera photo at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport on July 27, 2014.

“It works like a charm, in just the way it was intended to work.”

In its smearing of groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition and Young Americans for Freedom, Spencer wrote, what’s “missing is any mention of a Saudi-funded mosque, a rabid imam preaching jihad or a Muslim group with ties to terrorism.”

“Imams telling the faithful that Jews are “the descendants of apes and pigs,” community leaders calling for holy war against the infidel, American Muslim groups shouting hooray for Hamas –all urban legends, as far as the Southern Poverty Law Center is concerned.”

Spencer noted groups such as al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Muslim Brotherhood, Abu Sayyaf and the Algerian Armed Resistance are known to operate in the United States.

“Which is a greater threat to America – to the physical safety of you and your loved ones? 1. An octogenarian Klansman with tobacco juice dribbling down his chin, 2. A balding Hitler-wannabe who can barely fit his Sam Browne belt over his paunch or 3. A foreign-funded member of Martyrs’ Mosque plotting the next 9/11?

“But with its politically correct blinders firmly in place, the Southern Poverty Law Center sees no hatred in Jihad Nation, or on the left generally.”

Death threats

As WND reported, SPLC has demanded Internet giants Amazon and PayPal blacklist bloggers and websites that don’t fall in line with its leftist agenda.

Headlined “Financing Hate” in its Intelligence Report publication, SPLC listed 91 “hate groups” ranging from those clearly on the fringe to mainstream bloggers and websites such as Catholic Family News, Atlas Shrugs, Jihad Watch, WND and the Americans for Legal Immigration PAC.

Noting that some of the organizations it opposes utilize Amazon, PayPal and other retail services to sell products, SPLC said it contacted Amazon in September 2013 about the participation of “hate groups” and “hate sites” in Amazon affiliate programs that earn commissions for the groups.

Amazon said it would assign “appropriate teams to investigate, review applicable policies, and take appropriate action.”

But SPLC lamented that some of its targets “were still earning commissions through Amazon.”

A leader of one of the targeted organizations, William Gheen of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, or ALIPAC, wrote an open letter to SPLC, asserting the “demonstrably false” claims have led to death threats.

Gheen’s organization opposes illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants in the United States.

“This letter is to inform you that we have Internet posts and emails containing threats and death threats against my life and the lives of my family members in reaction to your false claims that we are a hate group,” he said.

“The threats we have received specifically cite SPLC claims that suggest we are somehow motivated by racism and advocating violence against minorities, both of which are demonstrably false.”

Gheen said SPLC knows full well that ALIPAC is “racially inclusive … and that a substantial percentage of our supporters are minorities.”

Because of their biblically based opposition to homosexuality, SPLC also lists the American Family Association and the Family Research Council in the same category as groups such as Aryan Nations.

Judson Phillips, whose Tea Party Nation also was listed, said SPLC is “the ultimate left-wing hate group. This is a group that is somewhere to the left of Karl Marx, and they hate real Americans.”

WND Editor and CEO Joseph Farah, who has been personally targeted by SPLC, along with the news site he founded, said SPLC “is hardly a credible watchdog on so-called ‘hate groups.’”

“In fact, it is a hate group. But, sadly, with its budget of hundreds of millions of dollars and its cozy relationship with government and the media elite, it has more power and influence than most Americans realize. Its hateful finger-pointing at companies and organizations has actually resulted in real acts of violence, as is the case of the Family Research Council shooting attack. I actually consider it a badge of honor to be targeted by the SPLC. But their attacks do come at a price, because they actually do place real targets on the backs of their enemies.”

Domestic terror

Farah was referring to the August 2012 attack on FRC headquarters in Washington by Floyd Lee Corkins II, who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for domestic terrorism after informing the FBI that he selected FRC because it was listed as a “hate group” by SPLC.

Floyd Corkins

Convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Corkins

Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of FRC, wrote in a commentary, “Nothing speaks to the SPLC’s inhumanity as its behavior after the shooting at FRC.”

Boykin asked: “How would you react if you had created a map that was used by a terrorist to attempt to kill dozens of people? Wouldn’t decent people conclude instantly or quickly or maybe even slowly that you were fortunate to have escaped being forever linked to mass murder? Wouldn’t you change course?

“Of course, that is what decent people would do, but decent people do not run the SPLC,” he said.

“Instead, the SPLC is run by the sort of political ideologues who can dissociate their actions from the humanity of the people they harm. There has been no change to the Hate Map, nor will there be. There was never any concern expressed directly to Leo Johnson after the shooting, nor will there be. They apparently see the Leo Johnsons of the world as collateral damage on an inexorable march to a better world freed from religion.

When SPLC applied its hate label to the non-profit legal group Liberty Counsel, LC Chairman Mat Staver fought back, arguing that under the standard SPLC uses to call groups “hate” organizations and individuals “haters,” the Catholic Church would qualify, along with virtually every major Christian group in the world.

SPLC’s “hate” label also would have applied to President Obama and Hillary Clinton before they “evolved” to become ardent supporters of same-sex marriage, Staver said.

Get the Whistleblower Magazine’s revelations about the SPLC, in its March 2015 edition of “The Hate Racket,” the complete story of how one group fools government into equating Christians and conservatives with Klansmen and Nazis – and rakes in millions doing it.

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