Morris Dees
Morris Dees, disgraced co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
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By Lee Williams

For more than 50 years the Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. battled segregationists, challenged Jim Crow laws and bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan and other violent extremist groups. But ever since 2019, when the SPLC fired its co-founder and media frontman, Morris Dees, after accusations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and racism surfaced, the nonprofit has quietly shifted its focus.

Now, rather than advocating for civil rights, the SPLC is fighting against civil rights, specifically those protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

Today, SPLC’s press releases, position papers and rhetoric make it nearly indistinguishable from any traditional gun control group, like Brady, Everytown, or Giffords, with whom the SPLC has partnered on several occasions. But there are two major differences: The SPLC is flush with cash – far more than all other gun-control groups combined – and it still wields a powerful cudgel, its Hatewatch list, which it uses to publicly shame anyone – including members of the gun rights community – who disagrees with its principles.

Although their numbers are dwindling, some members of the legacy media still regard the Hatewatch list as gospel, even though it’s nearly always wielded against conservative groups rather than progressive ones like Antifa, which the SPLC defines as a “broad, community-based movement composed of individuals organizing against racial and economic injustice.”

It has become relatively easy for SPLC to marginalize gun owners and gun-rights advocates. If someone opposes the government infringing upon their Second Amendment rights, they are therefore opposed to the government, which makes them anti-government, in SPLC’s view. The nonprofit always adds ‘extremist’ to any negative label like a dose of seasoning, so now the victim is transformed into an antigovernment extremist.

Once labeled, SPLC quickly adds them to their Hatewatch list and publicly compares them to real anti-government extremists. Within minutes the poor victim is associated with Klansman, Nazis and actual terrorists, such as Timothy McVeigh.

This process is lightyears worse than the tactics used by other gun control groups, which may call someone out on Twitter or in a position paper. This is professional character assassination, pure and simple…and it works. If you don’t think it can happen, ask Cody Wilson. The SPLC hit that poor young man like a freight train.

If you’ve ever wondered how the Biden-Harris administration can claim with a straight face that domestic terrorism and white supremacy are on the rise, take a look at the statements and testimony the SPLC provided them and their Jan. 6 Committee. The SPLC and the Biden-Harris administration have formed a symbiotic relationship. Each group buttresses the other’s spurious claims.

To be clear, SPLC’s newfound gun-control focus doesn’t bode well for those who value their constitutional rights. The SPLC is the wealthiest civil rights charity in the country. Dees was well known as a wealth hoarder.

In 2019, one nonprofit watchdog gave his group an “F” grade, because it had amassed more than six years of assets, which were held in reserve. As a result, the nonprofit now has more than a $800 million in net assets, offices in five southern states and approximately 250 employees, including 80 attorneys who have already started filing anti-gun litigation.

While the SPLC dabbled a bit during Dees’ tenure, it didn’t fully embrace gun control until after he was fired. Why the group pivoted so quickly isn’t fully known.

Some say it’s like any other progressive group that suddenly becomes leaderless, rudderless, and in search of a purpose. When times are tough, default to guns. Others have speculated it’s a carryover from Dees’ leadership style – he always sought sensational cases that would garner media attention, such as filing suit over a copy of the Ten Commandments displayed in a county courthouse, rather than using SPLC’s massive financial strength to combat more immediate problems such as homelessness, joblessness or crime, which are ravaging the minority communities the nonprofit claims to champion.

In addition, the group’s powerful lobbying arm, the SPLC Action Fund, spent more than $2 million last year lobbying in Washington, D.C. and state houses across the country.

As a result, the SPLC has more financial and political power than all other gun-control groups combined, and it poses an extreme threat to Second Amendment rights.

Shadow mission

Officially, gun control is not part of the SPLC’s mission, which states that the group “is a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements, and advance the human rights of all people.” The term appears nowhere in SPLC’s most recent annual report, nor is it listed as a “program service accomplishment” on its 2021 IRS form 990.

SPLC Southern Poverty Law Center
From the SPLC’s 2021 IRS form 990

Instead, the group has four “impact areas” and gun control isn’t among them: “protecting democracy, combating the incarceration and criminalization of communities of color, eradicating poverty and fighting extremism and white supremacy.”

Still, SPLC’s gun control platform mirrors that of most traditional gun control groups. In other words, they touch all the usual bases.

Stand Your Ground laws

The SPLC partnered with the Giffords Law Center to produce a report condemning “Stand Your Ground” laws, which the two groups claim, “fuel racist, lethal violence” and cause “30-50 homicides every month.”

“Highlighting the systemic racism and sexism perpetuated by Stand Your Ground laws, the report calls for the repeal of Stand Your Ground laws in the 27 states where they are enacted and for laws to be passed overturning harmful court decisions that have imposed Stand Your Ground standards on eight other states,” the report states.

In reality, all Stand Your Ground laws do is eliminate a victim’s duty to retreat. The law allows the threat of deadly force to be met with deadly force, instead of legally requiring the victim to run away and possibly being shot in the back.

In Florida, rather than fueling “racist” violence, the law has been used more often by defendants of color than by white defendants.

Homemade firearms

The SPLC has targeted homemade firearms and castigated Defense Distributed owner Cody Wilson, who released 3D printable gun files on his personal website. The group labeled Wilson an “antigovernment wunderkind.”

“Wilson stops short of direct incitement to violence, though he doesn’t voice opposition to mounting calls for violent reprisal against the state in antigovernment circles,” the report states.

The SPLC quickly added Wilson to its Hatewatch list, describing his ideology as “Antigovernment movement.”

UN Arms Control Treaty

Anyone opposed to the United Nation’s Arms treaty is a conspiracy theorist with twisted panties, the SPLC claims.

“Nothing spooks antigovernment conspiracy theorists like the United Nations and its international treaties – particularly when it comes to perceived threats to their right to bear arms,” the report states. “So naturally, far-right paranoiacs really have their panties in a twist over the proposed Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which would establish standards for the international trade of weapons.”

Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act

The PLCAA protects gun manufacturers and gun dealers by barring most lawsuits based on “the criminal or unlawful misuse of a [firearm] by [a] person or a third party, 15 U.S.C. § 7903(5)(A).” It is often misunderstood and mischaracterized. It does not bar a lawsuit if a product is defective.

In a 2009 story, the SPLC admitted that a recent appeals court ruling upheld the PLCAA but added: “When hate criminals and others who shouldn’t have guns get their hands on them, it puts everyone at risk.”

Second Amendment Sanctuaries

2A sanctuary map courtesy of SantuaryCounties.com

More than half of the counties in the United States are now Second Amendment Sanctuaries and the list is growing, according to SanctuaryCounties.com, which tracks the nationwide movement. In fact, the movement is growing so quickly, the website’s owner, Noah Davis, has a hard time keeping it updated. More than a dozen states have declared themselves sanctuary states.

These counties and states are “legally problematic and threaten to override the very democratic systems upon which the country was built,” the SPLC claims, adding that the sanctuaries are popular among “antigovernment extremists.”

“This wave of proposals is the direct result of hysteria around potential new federal and state gun laws and age-old conspiracies about Democrats’ desire to confiscate guns,” the report states. “These are the same fears antigovernment extremists have used to fuel and unify their movement for decades.”

Even Joe Biden disagrees. Biden has never kept his confiscatory plans secret.

“Our work continues to limit the number of bullets that can be in a cartridge, the type of weapons that can be purchased and sold … attempt to ban assault weapons, a whole range of things,” Biden said last month.

Gun Shows

Dees himself castigated gun shows in a 1996 book. He claimed “militia leaders use gun shows to disseminate their anti-government strategy. Dees also notes that in its efforts to take its anti-government and anti-law enforcement message to Middle America, the National Rifle Association utilized gun shows as a key communications conduit.

Dees writes that “amid tables laden with Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifles, Mossberg shotguns, and Beretta 9mm pistols, and piled high with holsters, military ponchos, and camouflage uniforms, they peddle the idea of militias as a defense against a tyrannical government.”

While the SPLC has checked all the boxes on the most common gun control issues, it reserves its most extreme vitriol for gun rights rallies and armed teachers.

Opposed to Freedom of Assembly

All gun owners are racists, Nazis, militia members, violent anti-government extremists or all of the above, the SPLC would have the public believe, because at pro-gun rallies attended by thousands of people, one or two individuals may have a pin, a patch, or a tattoo from one of these groups. It is the ultimate in guilt by association and it defies belief.

The SPLC never mentions the thousands of law-abiding Americans who peaceably assemble in support of their Second Amendment rights. If there’s a Confederate flag or a III-Percenter tattoo anywhere in the crowd, the SPLC labels the entire group as extremists.

“Recent nationwide gun rallies tied to far-right extremists and attract hate groups,” one SPLC headline screamed.

“Gun-rights activists and antigovernment extremists are planning a protest in Richmond, Virginia, on Monday fueled by antigovernment conspiracy theories and accompanied by online calls for violence,” read the secondary headline on another SPLC story.

Whenever the SPLC is actually able to identify an extremist group, it usually has only a mere handful of members and no one has ever heard of it, but that doesn’t stop the nonprofit from ramping up the group’s potential for violence. Overhype has always been SPLC’s mainstay.

Another tactic is to make bold claims without supporting evidence or attribution. “The Lobby Day event, organized by the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL), has drawn the interest of at least 33 militia groups from across the country,” the Richmond protest story claimed. Not one of the militia groups was identified by name, nor was the source of the information cited.

In a follow-up story, an SPLC report claimed, “At least 18 militias and 34 hate and extremist groups tracked by Hatewatch turned out for the protests that day, with some pledging violence in the face of proposed gun regulation by the Virginia General Assembly.” Of course, no evidence or attribution to bolster these claims was provided. Readers were left wondering: How do they know this?

Opposed to safeguarding students

Stoneman Douglas High School
(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

One of the recommendations of the multidisciplinary commission that investigated the 2018 Valentine’s Day massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida was to arm teachers.

The 16-member commission was comprised of sheriffs, a chief of police, educators, child advocates, school board members, mental health professionals, a state senator and the fathers of two of the shooting victims.

In its 439-page report, the commission recommended that the state legislature should expand Florida’s School Guardian program to allow teachers who volunteer to receive training from their local sheriff on how to carry concealed firearms. But evidently, the SPLC knew better.

Just two weeks after the Parkland massacre the SPLC released a “statement on arming teachers with guns.”

Some elected officials are proposing common-sense solutions to create safe and supportive school environments. But in multiple Southern states, spurred on by the most toxic voices of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and President Trump, legislators are recommending a misguided and harmful approach that would turn teachers into police forces by allowing or asking them to carry guns,” the statement reads. “Having teachers bring firearms into their schools would make classrooms more dangerous, and would increase the chance of more innocent lives being lost. There are many steps we must take to make our schools safer and stronger, but putting guns into classrooms is not a serious – or safe – solution. Our children deserve better.

Instead of arming teachers, SPLC said in a report five months after the killings and before the commission’s 439-page report was released, that “the commission should focus on evidence-based approaches to discipline like Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, restorative justice, and social and emotional learning.”

“Placing more counselors, nurses and mental health professionals in schools, and conducting school climate assessments and behavioral health interventions, are additional and essential measures school districts can take to create the kind of welcoming and safe schools that foster learning and growth,” SPLC said.

Three months later, the SPLC and Giffords Law Center sued the Trump administration for “records detailing how it has unlawfully permitted the use of federal funds to arm teachers with guns in classrooms across America.”

“Turning teachers into armed guards is both reckless and insulting to the millions of American children and parents who want to see their schools become more safe – not less,” Adam Skaggs, chief counsel for the Giffords Law Center is quoted as saying in an SPLC press release.

In November 2018, the SPLC and Giffords sued the Duval County (Florida) Public Schools and the Duval County School Board over their decision to arm staff. The lawsuit claimed Florida state law prohibits anyone from carrying firearms on school property unless they are a law enforcement officer. The suit also states that while state law “requires every school to hire a ‘safe-school officer,’ it does not require those officers to be armed with guns.”

Florida is not the only state to be sued by the SPLC over armed teachers. Just five months ago, the nonprofit sued the Cobb County (Georgia) School Board over their decision to allow select personnel to carry concealed firearms on campus, on school busses and at school events.

“These school board members routinely enact school policies that are ineffective for the stated goals. To be clear, more guns, more police, and more punishment do not make schools safer. The new policy is not rooted in data, community input, or evidence-based solutions. And, not surprisingly, it will endanger lives and disproportionately impact students of color and students with disabilities who are already subjected to discriminatory discipline and over-policing in the district,” Mike Tafelski, SPLC’s senior supervising attorney said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

Suspicious financials

Southern Poverty Law Center headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama (Shutterstock)

According to the charity watchdog Guidestar, SPLC has more than $801 million in assets. The assets of Everytown, Giffords and Brady – combined – total $31 million, or around 3% of what SPLC has amassed.

SPLC’s most recent IRS form 990 confirms that the nonprofit is swimming in money, but the form raises more questions than it answers. The names of the nonprofit’s donors and the amount of their contributions are “restricted.” And there are some very suspicious investments.

“The Center has ownership in several foreign corporations. However, the Center’s ownership percentage in these corporations does not rise to the level of reporting on the Form 5471,” the document states.

The nonprofit’s endowment fund is staggering. It has total assets worth more than $731 million. It was started shortly after SPLC was founded to ensure “that the SPLC has the financial strength to address, over the long haul, the entrenched problems our country faces.” Its assets consist of $10 million in cash plus bonds and an assortment of public and private equity funds.

SPLC’s salary structure is massive. As its critics have said, the nonprofit’s senior staff is extremely well compensated. SPLC’s interim president/CEO Karen Baynes Dunning received a salary and benefits package worth more than $386,000. The man she replaced, outgoing president/CEO Richard Cohen, received more than $413,000 in salary and benefits. The nonprofits chief fundraiser was paid more than $260,000. Its “director of teaching tolerance” made more than $200,000.

The average household income in Montgomery, Alabama, where SPLC’s headquarters is located, is $68,149 with a poverty rate of 24.24%.

The salaries of the nonprofit’s support staff, who voted to form a union shortly after Dees’ firing and successfully unionized last month, are not addressed in the IRS form.

“The SPLC’s work is supported primarily through donor contributions. No government funds are received or used for its efforts,” the nonprofit’s website states. “The SPLC is proud of the stewardship of its resources.”

‘Plantation’ boss

Morris Seligman Dees Jr., 86, may be the only nonprofit chief whose life and career inspired two Hollywood movies.

Corbin Bernson played Dees in the 1991 made-for-TV movie “Line of Fire: The Morris Dees Story.” Wayne Rogers of MAS*H fame played Dees in “Ghosts of Mississippi,” which was released in 1996.

Dees has been described as charismatic and has received dozens of accolades and professional awards, but he has also been the subject of many serious complaints. For decades the legacy media ignored any criticism, even when the complaints came from members of Dees’ own staff. Things changed in the early 1990s, when his hometown newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, launched an investigation into SPLC’s finances and how Dees and other senior managers treated their predominantly Black support staff.

Jim Tharpe, the Advertiser’s former managing editor, recounted the details of his newspaper’s investigation in a column he wrote for the Washington Post, which was published shortly after Dees was fired.

“SPLC leaders threatened legal action on several occasions, and at one point openly attacked the newspaper’s investigation in a mass mailing to Montgomery lawyers and judges. Then they slammed the door,” Tharpe wrote.

After three years of investigative reporting, the Advertiser published an eight-part series titled: “Rising Fortunes: Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

The journalists uncovered a plethora of problems inside the nonprofit, including “a deeply troubled history with its relatively few black employees, some of whom reported hearing the use of racial slurs by the organization’s staff and others who ‘likened the center to a plantation’; misleading donors with aggressive direct-mail tactics; exaggerating its accomplishments; spending most of its money not on programs but on raising more money; and paying its top lavish salaries.”

Dees and his staff denied all wrongdoing, launched an aggressive damage-control campaign and condemned the series. It’s an age-old tactic: when someone can’t handle the message, they attack the messenger. It didn’t work. In 1995, the series was named as a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

In his Washington Post column, Tharpe calls on the IRS and the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to investigate the SPLC.

Any investigation should take a close look at the SPLC’s finances. It should look at what the center has told donors in its mail solicitations over the years. And it should take a close look at how that donor money has been spent. Investigators should also look at how SPLC staffers have been treated over the years. Where was the center’s board when this mistreatment was going on? And why did no one step up sooner?

Tharpe was not alone in his criticism of the nonprofit. Bob Moser, who worked as a staff writer at SPLC from 2001 to 2004, recounted similar concerns in a column he wrote for The New Yorker, which was published shortly after his former boss was shown the door.

For those of us who’ve worked in the Poverty Palace, putting it all into perspective isn’t easy, even to ourselves. We were working with a group of dedicated and talented people, fighting all kinds of good fights, making life miserable for the bad guys,” Moser wrote. “And yet, all the time, dark shadows hung over everything: the racial and gender disparities, the whispers about sexual harassment, the abuses that stemmed from the top-down management, and the guilt you couldn’t help feeling about the legions of donors who believed that their money was being used, faithfully and well, to do the Lord’s work in the heart of Dixie. We were part of the con, and we knew it.

It wasn’t funny then. At this moment, it seems even grimmer. The firing of Dees has flushed up all the uncomfortable questions again. Were we complicit, by taking our paychecks and staying silent, in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that never lived up to the values it espoused? Did we enable racial discrimination and sexual harassment by failing to speak out? ‘Of course we did,’ a former colleague told me, as we parsed the news over the phone.

At the time, the SPLC did not publicly address the reasons for Dees’ firing. Then-president/CEO Richard Cohen issued a short statement shortly before Dee’s bio was scrubbed from the SPLC website.

“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” Cohen’s statement reads. “When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.”

Shortly after Dees’ firing, the Alabama Political Reporter and several other local news sites obtained copies of an internal SPLC email, which was signed by numerous employees.

“Specifically, the employees’ email alleged multiple instances of sexual harassment by Dees, and it alleges that reports of his conduct were ignored or covered up by SPLC leadership. A subsequent letter from other SPLC employees demands an investigation into the alleged coverup of Dees’ alleged harassment,” the APR story states. “The emails noted that multiple female SPLC employees had resigned over the years due to the harassment and/or the subsequent retaliation by SPLC leadership when they reported the incidents.”

Dees, according to these news sources, denied any wrongdoing.

Anti-gun Democrat

SPLC Action Fund independent expenditures as of 2020. (Graphic courtesy of OpenSecrets.org)

The SPLC has never been able to achieve its stated goal of nonpartisanship. It is a far left-leaning organization, from the top down.

According to his personal campaign donations, Dees has a long history of supporting Democratic candidates, including John Edwards, John Kerry and Bill Clinton. Earlier in his career, he served as finance director for George McGovern’s, Jimmy Carter’s and Edward Kennedy’s presidential campaigns.

Nine months after he was fired, Dees was linked to an anti-NRA group, which listed him as its founder on its now-defunct website, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Dees denied that he founded the group – The Association for Responsible Gun Ownership (TARGO) – but admitted he did support the group’s goals. He told the newspaper he joined another anti-gun group and was asked to help with TARGO.

Dees said he did not know what tactics the groups would use against the NRA. “We’ll fight them any way we can,” he told the newspaper. “We’ll work closely with other gun control groups.”

Inciting violence

On Aug.15, 2012, Jessica Prol Smith was working as a writer and editor at the Christian nonprofit Family Research Council, in Washington, D.C., when her office was suddenly locked down because of a security threat.

An armed assailant, who was later convicted of terrorism and other crimes, entered the building with the intent to kill as many staffers as he could. He later admitted he brought 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which he intended to smear on his victims’ faces as a political statement. He had chosen the Family Research Council because the SPLC listed it as a hate group.

Thankfully, an unarmed security guard managed to subdue the assailant and hold him until police arrived, but he was shot once in the arm during the takedown.

Ms. Prol Smith agreed to answer questions about the SPLC. Here is the exchange: 

How dangerous is SPLC’s Hatewatch label?

The SPLC’s Hatewatch label is deceptive and profoundly dangerous. The group did some good work decades ago, when it fought segregation in the South. But for years, now, the SPLC has chosen to smear its political opponents and lump mainstream conservatives together with violent neo-Nazis and the KKK.

That’s obviously an effective fundraising strategy but it destroys our ability to get along with neighbors, friends, or family who don’t share our identical beliefs.

The SPLC also doesn’t appear to show any remorse over the reality that their ‘hate’ label has inspired violence. Back in 2012, a troubled young man took a cue from the SPLC hate list, packed his backpack with ammo and Chick-fil-A sandwiches and decided to target the Christian nonprofit where I worked. He planned to shoot the place up and smear sandwiches on our lifeless faces.

When I reflected on the incident and told my story in 2019, the SPLC responded by repeating their smear and fundraising off of it.

Do you have any advice for people who find themselves on the Hatewatch list?

It’s uncomfortable to be smeared as a hater and a bigot, but I think it’s possible to care too much what others think of you and your convictions. My Christian faith has taught me that it’s possible to be thoroughly loving and meticulously civil—but still face irrational abuse for speaking truth. If you’re the praying sort of person, I’d suggest praying that the SPLC’s leaders benefit from a redemptive, Damascus-road experience.

It’s reassuring to know that federal courts, former SPLC employees, and even some reluctant progressive advocates have been dismissing the SPLC’s Hatewatch label as subjective and, in some cases, a total scam.

But while the ‘hate’ labels harm dialogue and hold far too much influence in politics and corporate America, I’m optimistic that the SPLC’s strategy of abuse and deception isn’t ultimately a winning one.

What is your reaction that the SPLC has now shifted to gun control?

The SPLC has shown an appetite for fundraising off of the fears of liberals so it’s hardly surprising that they’ve expanded their portfolio to include gun control. Passions understandably run high when American citizens debate gun policy and I have very little confidence that the SPLC will help this debate be more constructive.

In your opinion, will Dees’ firing change the SPLC, or will it continue on unchanged?

As long as they are alive, people and their organizations can change, but I’m hardly optimistic that the SPLC will improve because Dees is gone. Mr. Dees may have contributed to the corruption and discrimination, but the SPLC is making a financial killing by fanning the culture wars in an aggressive and uncivil manner. Just a brief glance over recent blog posts lead me to believe that—at least for now—they’re going to paint ‘HATE’ in big red letters over anyone and anything they don’t like.

Uncertain future

Dees may be gone, but his legacy still permeates the nonprofit he co-founded 51 years ago, because he hired many of the SPLC’s senior staff. The nonprofit’s future is uncertain. Will the SPLC continue with Dees’ style of partisan attacks on Second Amendment supporters, or will it chart a new course or resume its original mandate? That’ isn’t clear. The SPLC didn’t respond to requests seeking their comments for this story.

It is hoped that the once-vaunted nonprofit will return to its original mission.

“During its formative years, the Southern Poverty Law Center did some great work. They took on the Klan, Nazis and the Aryan Nation, but nowadays they seem hellbent on conflating law-abiding gun owners with these hate groups,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation. “This needs to stop, and quite frankly they should be ashamed. The SPLC should return to its roots and its original core values. This country can always use another true civil-rights watchdog. We don’t need another gun-control group. We’ve got more than enough of those already.”

 

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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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62 COMMENTS

  1. They got wealthy off racism. And like all the corporate fat cats they want to keep the rest of us down. SPLC. gates, bloomberg, aoc, soros, miner49er and dacian. The face of modern Fascism in America.

    • I used to hunt squirrel in 61 or so with a guy who had a lowbrass-only single barrel 12 ga with a bulged barrel. I said, “Lee, why don’t you get a pump? Some of them are really cheap.”

      He got very mad, and accused me of trying to get him in trouble with the klan. As a white kid from “up north”, it took a little time for me to understand his concern was 100% reality-based, and he would very likely face serious consequences for moving beyond a single-shot.

      I guess now he would be worried about SPLC as well. At least the klan let him have a single-barrel.

      Ironically, he was carrying an M16 in a rice paddy about 4 years later. Made it home, but got snagged by the alcohol gene, eventually got fatally back-stabbed in a ghetto alley.

      • I’m from WV. I’m old enough to remember that when you crossed the line from KY to Tenn. You started encountering signs on restrooms and drinking fountains and diners that said ‘Whites only’ and ‘colored only’. The further south you went the worse it got.

        That shite was for real. I existed in a lily white environment. My first day in boot camp was an eye opener.

        • “The further south you went the worse it got.”

          You didn’t need to go very far south, there was plenty of racial bigotry and assault right in downtown Huntington, WV:

          “In 1963, members of the Civic Interest Progressives, a civil rights organization led by Marshall students and Huntington community leaders, challenged racial discrimination at local eateries such as Bailey’s and the White Pantry Inn. After students waging a sit-in were attacked at the White Pantry, they changed their strategy and held a series of “share-ins.” In these protests, liberal white students who wanted to help challenge the color line would enter a restaurant and order a meal. After the meal was delivered, they would invite African American students to join them at their table. Although these protests, combined with the legal work of local attorney Herbert Henderson, led to the end of Jim Crow at many Huntington restaurants prior to the spring of 1963, the owner of the White Pantry turned violent and attacked one of the Black students with a cattle prod. The second video clip below shows a young woman on the ground gasping for air after the owner of the White Pantry Inn lit sulfur cakes to force Black students to leave his restaurant.“

          https://theclio.com/entry/17975

        • Ever wonder why the Pentagon has twice the number of toilets necessary for a building with that number of people?

        • MINOR Miner49er. Reaching back 60 yrs to “prove” (sic) racism in America? Don’t you think it’s time for you to GET A GRIP?

        • MinorLiar,

          Once again, you are committed to being a racist, Leftist/fascist propagandist, rather than a reasoned commentator.

          One of my classmates in law school was black, a military brat, who’d spent most of his life south of the Mason-Dixon line (and usually in small or small-er towns). One of his observations? “The most racist place I’ve ever lived was Boston. The second worst was Chicago.”

          Suck it, you lying, slimy fascist p***k.

        • Born and raised in DC; got married in Maryland and moved to South Central Virginia in 1998. The courthouse in the County Seat still had “White Ladies” and “Colored Girls” signs up over the doors to the women’s rest-rooms at that time.

          I suspect it was no longer enforced, but the signs were still up.

    • To sum up the 10 mile long data consuming article…

      The sneaky splc is all about shifting the long racist history of the democRat Party to the Party of Lincoln. Proof of that is you won’t ever hear anyone at the splc calling for the guilty as sin democRat Party to cough up Reparations. Sad part is no one on this forum would hold the democRat Party accountable either…just like the placid mitch mcconnell.

      • You honestly think those that are on this site support the dems? As far as McConnell goes his time has come and gone. Thanks for conservatives on the Supreme Court now GTFOH! We all know that the SPLC is an extreme far left organization. And they need to be investigated. I won’t hold my breath though. And by the way this article while long was and is packed full of useful information.

  2. You are way late. The SPLC has been falsely accusing any and all non communists of being racist for at least since it was founded, if not before. Good article though. You add a lot of detail and it is good for newer people to become aware of this. But this should be old news to all the old hats.

    • The scary thing about them is their ability to destroy other “non profits” that may bring about their ire. I would love to see a deep dive into their financial’s but the Republicans can’t even elect a speaker. Same old crap new year.

      • I’d like to see it take a YEAR for them to elect a Speaker… nothing moves forward until such time as they do.
        And there is little difference between McCarthy and the other side of the aisle… eff this ” bipartisanship” which has become a synonym for
        ” capitulate “.

        • Bipartisanship means they’re working together instead of individually to screw you over. Gridlock is highly underrated.

        • I am not going to argue with that Pb.
          I also hate the bipartisanship.
          There is nothing that the dems have to offer that I want, or that idiot McConnell for that matter.

    • If they were less disingenuous, they’d have added their own organization to the Hatewatch list long ago. Don’t have to read far into their proclamations from on high to find a raft of veiled bigoted statements of their own.

  3. An entire series of articles could be written if the title read as:

    “How the Southern Poverty Law Center Nearly Every Leftist Organization Morphed Into a Gun Control Advocacy or Drag Queen Story Hour Advocacy Operation”

    FIFY

  4. Really? A second comment from me completely ghosted in under 24 hours? The site recognizes and accepts my comment, then immediately pulls it upon the next page refresh? Not even a mention of moderation? What’s going on?

  5. I remember attending “mandatory” Equal Opportunity / Consideration of Others training while in the military. The EO NCO’s presentations always included slides taken directly from the SPLC website. The Hatewatch lists were always included. We were continuously lectured about how our support of anything considered “patriotic” made us racists.

  6. SPLC ain’t for the poor. They got quite wealthy scamming America. Anti-Christ,ANTI-2A and anti-American!

    • Well, apparently *that* made it through unmoderated. It seems the organization mentioned in this article has progressed along the same trajectory as the one I mentioned. Sad, really.

  7. This article leads by describing an organization that never was, at least during my lifetime. SPLC has always, to my cognizance, been a leftist organization that championed every anti-American/counterculture principle opposed to those which the US was founded and operated traditionally- those things that set us apart from the rest of the world and made us the prime destination for nearly every other nation’s people with means.

    If I missed something worthwhile Dees and his follwers ever stood for, I apologize. I may have dozed off once or twice…

  8. SPLC is just another member of the hydra-headed beast we’ve allowed to subvert our democratic republic – “advocacy” groups pick a cause, candidate aligns with group and group supports candidate, leftist/statist/fascist candidate gets elected to office, said elected official funnels the people’s funds back to group and/or group’s members – wash, rinse, repeat, ad infinitum, ad nauseum…just like the ACLU, just like the NEA, just like the SEIU, just like the miasma of NGOs that infest our modern world (Boss Tweed with up to date IT, but at least Tweed managed to build some stuff and generally keep the peace) – when government becomes your biggest “industry” and acts eerily like a hydraulic gold miner from the 1800s it’s inevitable to get systemic grifters like the SPLC and their fellow travelers.

  9. BS the SPLC (and Dees) have been full on commie pinkos since (at least) since I knew of them and that is more than 30yrs. Trash, filth, despicable.

  10. Again, Frog,Landing, Zone. Come and take it. Come and it, come and take it, come and take it! If I get killed, so what. You gonna put the black people who come to my funeral on the shit list too?

  11. No reasonable person pays them or the ACLU any mind and hasn’t for decades now.

    They are simply partisan “experts” used to nudge the lowest common denominator.

  12. Has The Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project hit the HATE list yet? I assume that SAF is already on there….

  13. Cool MO Dee and Southern Preposterous Lie Center did one good thing, they bankrupted the Klan. Since then, have done nothing but push Communist causes. If you saw their office building in Montgomery, you would see a fortress with armed guards all around and a couple of weird, a led walls “To deflect thrown bombs”. The kicker is that the only other building on the block is the far-left Alabama Education Association. (State teachers’ union. Talk about your “Communist bloc(k)” !

  14. The SPLC has been an affinity scam on Jews by Jews since its inception. They were the kings of direct mail solicitation drives, and were recognized as the kings of direct mail shakedown/grift campaigns in the 90’s.

    The SPLC’s campaign has always been to scare urban Jews that, without their donations, that armed militias would storm out of the panhandle of Idaho and start killing Jews in the suburbs of Chicago, so “you’d better send money so we can expose these people!”

    And gullible, impressionable little old ladies would dutifully send in their money to the SPLC and Morris Dees, never stopping to wonder “Who, exactly, are they calling a ‘militia’ and why do these people in the panhandle of Idaho want to do anything to me all the way over here?”

    A government that actually protects citizens from hucksters would investigate clowns like the SPLC every bit as much as they go after guys like Madoff – and for the same reason(s).

  15. If the SPLC is as effective at combating guns as they are at combating the ACTUAL problems of “the underprivileged” (lack of jobs, lack of fathers in the home, a stupid gang culture), we have nothing to worry about. The SPLC has never been anything but a grifting scam. Oh, and a way for lying Leftist racists to pat each other on the back and virtue signal.

    The ONLY people who pay attention to that bunch of lying Leftist/fascists are other Marxists. They were a corupt clown show under Dees, they continue to be a corrupt clown show.

  16. ““Our work continues to limit the number of bullets that can be in a cartridge,…”

    Does that mean bird-shot shotgun shells are ‘verboten’?

  17. The SPLC, has not been a leading advocate for civil liberties, or anything positive for America since it became a Democratic Party money laundering scheme that was used to pushed fabricated narratives that libertarian, constitutional ideologies threatened the Democratic National Party power and corruption.

    The SPLC once again has its propaganda being used to harm innocent groups and people. The SPLC which made itself once famous for identifying hate groups, has for the last 30 years changed itself into a leftist ideology propaganda machine that exist to raise money for the Progressive (Socialist, democrats, marxists, communist, nazi’s) political ideologies and defaming US Constitution advocacy groups lists and also by adding innocent Americans to their hate groups like former US Presidential hopefuls Dr Herman Caine and US Congressman Dr Ron Paul, and their supporters in addition.

    The SPLC a reckless organization that falsely labels people and organizations as “haters” or “hate groups.” With a history of creating multiple mass-murdering followers (Floyd Corkins, 2012 and James Hodgkinson, 2017 to name just 2).

    Mark Potock, with the SPLC admitted in an interview: “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.” Mark Potok is on video in a public meeting stating: “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…”
    [source 1] https://rkeefe57.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/splc-mark-potok-interview/
    [source 2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnTz2ylJo_8&feature=reImfu
    [source 3] http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/02/16/southern-poverty-law-center-manufacturing-hate-for-fun-and-profit/

    The SPLC that uses its infamous “hate groups” list to lump together genuine racists like the KKK with mainstream conservative groups. It has recently strong-armed Guidestar (the go to database for many ordinary Americans to consult before giving donations to ensure their money is going to what the support), so when Guidestar began plastering the SPLC “Hate Group” at the top of charities’ entries, it strongly reinforced SPLC’s smear campaign and potentially endangered the revenues of groups SPLC has attacked. It took multiple independent groups to force Gudiestar to retract the SPLC’s smear campaign tactics of conservative groups.
    [Source 4] Wall Street Journal investigative journalism article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-insidious-influence-of-the-splc-1498085416
    [Source 5] Philanthropy Roundtable exposé: http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/some_people_love_to_call_names
    [Source 6 & 7] Multiple well researched news articles by Breitbart (http://www.breitbart.com/news/charity-website-flags-dozens-of-nonprofits-as-hate-groups/) and the Daily Signal (http://www.breitbart.com/news/charity-website-flags-dozens-of-nonprofits-as-hate-groups/)
    threats of lawsuits and complaints by the SPLC smear campaign targeted charities (http://www.crisismagazine.com/2017/guidestar-joins-targeting-christian-groups-utter-destruction)
    [source 8] https://capitalresearch.org/article/guidestar-drops-splcs-fake-hate-group-label/

    Sadly the SPLC, has ramped up its efforts in its smear campaign creating fake research and news reports to manufacture evidence of increases in “right wing” (who are actually left-wing democrat/progressive/communist/socialist groups) [source 9] http://canadafreepress.com/article/more-fake-hate-news-from-the-southern-poverty-law-center

    More recently Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, has emailed company employees and announcing a donation of one million dollars to the Southern Poverty Law Center [Source 21] https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/16/16160292/tim-cook-apple-ceo-email-charlottesvile-nazis, Apple is even shilling for the SPLC on iTunes. [Source 22] https://www.theverge.com/2017/8/20/16175736/apple-donations-southern-poverty-law-center-itunes

    Even the Obama DOJ, was forced to addressing the eggregious and unethical behavior of its lawyer [Source 10] http://immigrationreformlawinstitute.org/Docs/EOIRDecision.pdf

    The DOJ is only the most recent group that was forced to investigate the SPLC and publish it findings
    [Source 11] Philanthropy Roundtable – http://www.philanthropyroundtable.org/topic/excellence_in_philanthropy/some_people_love_to_call_names
    [Source 12] Harpers – http://harpers.org/archive/2000/11/the-church-of-morris-dees/
    [source 13] Counterpunch – http://www.counterpunch.org/2009/05/15/king-of-the-hate-business/
    [source 14] Weekly Standard – http://www.weeklystandard.com/king-fearmongers/article/714573
    [Source 15] Huffington Post – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-m-swain/mission-creep-and-the-sou_b_255029.html
    [Source 16] Reason – http://reason.com/blog/2017/02/16/the-southern-poverty-law-center-is-count
    [Source 17] Washington Times – http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/mar/28/editorial-the-fbi-dumps-a-hate-group/
    [Source 18] Foreign Policy – http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/03/12/the-hate-list/

    As JoAnn Wypijewski at The Nation once wrote, the SPLC knows “hate sells” and, hence, must continue like the proverbial shark that has to keep swimming, the SPLC must keep fear-mongering and expanding its “hate-group” narrative lest its donors begin to stray. [Source 19] https://www.thenation.com/article/you-cant-get-there-here/

    The SPLC has labelled opponents of Common Core as “far-right extremists,” they’ve attacked almost every GOP presidential candidate as either homophobic or racist this past election cycle, and they’ve even attacked The Hobbit for apparently reinforcing the “White Patriarchy.”

    SPLC’s Founder, Morris Dees, who was vocal advocate for socialism/progressivism and worked for Democrat Party segregationists George Wallace and then-candidate for Alabama Attorney General, Democrat McDonald Gallion. Elsewhere, he’s claimed that the Confederate flag is part of his southern heritage. The initial donor list of the SPLC consisted of those who had contributed to McGovern’s political campaign, because Dees ran that campaign’s direct mail operation and had requested the mailing list as his fee. The Southern-born Dees knew that many of the northern liberals on McGovern’s donor list would fall to his get-rich scam. As contributions to the SPLC kept increasing, so did Dees’ salary. Within two decades, he was among the most highly compensated of the heads of advocacy groups, earning much more than the heads of more widely known organizations such as the ACLU, the Children’s Defense Fund, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

    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.

    during the Clinton administration, the SPLC found Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh a handy substitute for the Klan in its fundraising, despite failures to link his actions to any of the small militia groups the SPLC had earlier identified as hate groups. Eventually that appeal also ran its course, so the SPLC needed to “inflate the hate” by identifying another group as the boogieman for a new generation of naive souls eager to depart with their money for a righteous-sounding cause.

    In 2010, Ken Silverstein, the author of the 2000 Harper’s article, noted that the SPLC had found a large new target: those immigration reform groups that supported almost anything more restrictive than amnesty and de facto open borders.

    SPLC reported net assets of $238 million as of the close of its 2012 fiscal year, the SPLC is among the wealthiest of civil rights and advocacy organizations. Despite this endowment, the SPLC often implies that it is on the verge of cutting back operations vital to the quest for equality and civil rights due to lack of funds.

    {source 20] http://dailycaller.com/2015/07/09/flashback-splc-founder-says-confederate-flag-is-part-of-my-heritage-video/

    The SPLC, is the progressive political party’s movement masquarading as a legimiate Law Enforcemrent Intelligence Ageny which defends and upholds anti-US Constitution anti-civi liberties values and ideals; it labels publicly known Democrat Political Party violence groups like the KKK, Alt-Right, Neo-Nazi/Confederate Groups, Rascist/Seperatist groups and attempts to cast these groups political rhetoric as aligned with the principals of “Conservative” groups, like libertarians and Republicans – while also naming these same conservative advocacy groups that have mulitple decades of never having been invovlved in or linked/attributed to any violence or property damage activity in their entire history yet because they advocate for the government to follow the actual Supreme Law of the Land the SPLC’s label of “Hate Group” is placed upon these groups.

    The SPLC is well-known for making biased unsubstaniated false claims aginst these conservative groups; as well as attempting to link the hate groups that do exist as belonging to the conservative groups, yet the groups all labeled as “violence” and linked to “conservative” groups, when researched and investigated end up being linked to the progressive/marxists/socialist/communist political party’s (aka Democrat Party).

    Thre SPLC is also notoriously well known for exagerated “counts” of number of hate groups, it conflates the counts by including not only the national chapter as a hate group, but each groups local chapter as if it were a seperate “hate group” organization, for exmaple the KKK is counted not just once but over 40 times.

    [Source to many to list] https://illinoisfamily.org/faith/articles-reveal-truth-southern-poverty-law-center/

    [source 23] http://gatesofvienna.net/2017/08/using-the-splc-and-private-corporations-to-crack-down-on-hate/

    http://takimag.com/article/splc_2_the_search_for_more_money_steve_sailer/print#ixzz4atP7ETNj

    when the MAIC / SPLC and the Government was forced to have to retract and apologize for the SPLC/MAIC false research reports that impugned US Citizens
    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/local/state-official-apologizes-to-candidates-for-militia-report-by-fusion/article_55ea932f-0410-5ab9-8c64-fba278897e32.html

    SPLC Fake News:
    http://reason.com/blog/2016/02/19/the-southern-poverty-law-center-strikes

    http://www.infowars.com/secret-state-police-report-ron-paul-bob-barr-chuck-baldwin-libertarians-are-terrorists/

    http://www.hstoday.us/columns/the-kimery-report/blog/missouri-fusion-center-report-on-extremists-raises-ruckus/8a3caefed4297f1730de7ad7a8912116.html

    http://canadafreepress.com/article/more-fake-hate-news-from-the-southern-poverty-law-center

    http://canadafreepress.com/article/the-southern-poverty-law-center-and-the-department-of-homeland-security

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/dec/5/southern-poverty-law-center-omits-trump-related-ha/

    https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/intelligence-report/2017/editorial-donald-trump-fake-news-and-rise-white-nationalism

    http://www.pressherald.com/2015/09/06/secretive-fusion-center-to-play-key-role-in-maine-drug-crackdown/

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/maic-report-supporter-and-missouri-gov-nixon-to-sit-on-obama%E2%80%99s-council-of-governors.html

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