The FBI’s admission that it has been working with the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center has prompted a demand for more information from a Republican lawmaker.
The letter to the bureau from U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., was obtained by the Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”
“This is surprising and worrisome, as the SPLC is known to use its platform in order to denigrate and disparage certain groups by labeling them “hate groups,'” the congressman wrote.
Gaetz pointed out that SPLC puts groups such as the Family Research Council on its “hate” list because of their support for traditional marriage, while ignoring left-wing groups that engage in violence, such as Antifa.
“The SPLC’s conflation of mainstream political advocacy groups with legitimate hate groups and domestic terror groups is absurd, frequently indiscriminate and dangerous,” he said.
The FBI confirmed to “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that it “continues to have a relationship with the SPLC.”
SPLC has briefed the FBI on alleged domestic terror threats in the U.S., the Fox News show said.
Pressed on its relationship, the FBI explained in a statement.
“For many years, the FBI has engaged with various organizations, both formally and informally. Such outreach is a critical component of the FBI’s mission, and we welcome information from these organizations on any possible violations of civil rights, hate crimes or other potential crimes or threats. We do, however, evaluate our relationships with these groups as necessary to ensure the appropriateness of any interaction.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has “directed the FBI to re-evaluate their relationships with groups like this to ensure the FBI does not partner with any group that discriminates,” a spokesman said in a statement.
WND reported earlier this month the vice chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., is asking Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to stop the retail giant’s “sale of literature and music published by entities identified as ‘hate groups’ by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”
WND also reported the Religious Freedom Coalition was dumped from the AmazonSmile charity program because SPLC labeled it a “hate group.”
When RFC questioned Amazon about the decision, a lawyer issued a statement saying the company “relies on the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Southern Poverty Law Center to determine which registered charities fall into [the category of excluded] groups.”
SPLC’s hate list also has inspired two shooting attacks. In 2012, Floyd Corkins chose the headquarters of the Family Research Council as a target, and last year, James Hodgkinson, inspired by SPLC, opened fire on Republican lawmakers as they practiced for the annual congressional baseball game, severely wounding Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La.