Update: Southern “Poverty” in the Cayman Islands

Yesterday, Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) issued a letter to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Charles Rettig, urging an investigation into whether the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) should retain its classification as a 501(c)(3). Senator Cotton is requesting an investigation into the tax-exempt status of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) based on numerous examples of the SPLC engaging in systematic defamation of their political opponents.

In the letter, Sen. Cotton notes that the, “SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation. This business model has paid well. The SPLC has accrued more than $500 million in assets. According to the group’s most recent financial statement, it holds $121 million offshore in non-U.S. equity funds. The SPLC uses these assets to pay its executives lavish salaries far higher than the comparable household average.”

“In addition to failing to have a tax-exempt purpose…Federal law prohibits tax-exempt organizations from inuring to the benefit of any private individual. Yet, the SPLC has accrued $500 million in assets as of October 2018…$121 million of these assets are parked in offshore accounts,” notes Cotton.

So why would the SPLC need an offshore account in the Cayman Islands? Below is from their latest 990 filing.

Moreover, as we see from their latest 990, the SPLC has ownership in several foreign corporations and is also an indirect owner in several passive foreign investment companies as well. I wonder which ones?

Lastly, as Washington Free Beacon staff writer Joe Schoffstall noted back in August of 2017, the SPLC “only spends $61,000 on litigation as well, being a law center…Their leadership, the top people in management, they average probably around $300,000 in pay.” That’s not all either, when comparing SPLC’s 990 from 2008 to their latest 990, it appears the leadership at SPLC has been enriching themselves with increases in their pay, some even doubled their income at the cost of exploiting hate.

Take for instance Wendy Via, the former Director of Development who was making $117,000 in 2008. Now she’s making $244,922 as Chief of Development and Communications. What that means is anyone’s guess. Former SPLC President and CEO Richard Cohen who recently resigned amid allegations of misconduct and workplace discrimination was making $299,598 in 2008 but in 2017 he brought home $364,799.

How about Morris Dees? The disgraced chief trial counsel who was ironically fired a few weeks ago by Cohen before he resigned was making $303,936 in 2008. In 2017 he brought home $375,181. Then there’s people like Rhonda Brownstein, Director of Legal. She was at $146,048 in 2008 and is now up to $222,606 as the Legal Director. Not bad for working at a “Poverty Law Center.”

These are just a few of the examples of the individuals who have enriched themselves off of exploiting real and fabricated hate crimes in order to extort people, organizations, businesses and institutions into “donating” to the Center out of a real and credible fear of reparisal. It’s long past time that the Southern Poverty Law Center be investigated for the racket that it is so we can finally get some answers regarding their offshore account and whether the SPLC was or is accepting foreign money? If so, how much foreign cash are they receiving? And why won’t they disclose the donors?

For far too long the Southern Poverty Law Center has defined threats not by reality but by a false narrative that selectively targets conservatives. The SPLC labels organizations with conservative views as hate groups and has enjoyed premier access to the Department of Justice (DOJ). The government watchdog agency Judicial Watch first exposed this in 2013 as they obtained emails from the Obama DOJ that revealed SPLC co-founder Morris Dees had conducted a “diversity training event” for the agency back in 2012. The SPLC has also provided the U.S. military with training supplies and briefings as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). In fact, the FBI actually endorsed the SPLC as a partner on its “hate crime web page.

This partnership grew even stronger in 2015 when former Assistant Attorney General John P. Carlin announced at an event cosponsored by the SPLC, the creation of a new position within the DOJ aimed at investigating “violent extremism.”

“We are here to talk about combating domestic terrorism, which the FBI has explained as ‘Americans attacking Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies.’ The threat ranges from individuals motivated by anti-government animus, to eco-radicalism and racism,” stated Carlin. He continued, “Homegrown violent extremists can be motivated by any viewpoint on the full spectrum of hate. Anti-government views, racism, bigotry, anarchy and other despicable beliefs. When it comes to hate and intolerance, no single ideology governs.”

Carlin then went on to mention the following, “as our SPLC colleagues can attest, racial hatred motivates many of the violent extremist attacks. The Attorney General noted this summer that these kinds of hate crimes are the original domestic terrorism. Among domestic extremist movements active in the United States, white supremacists are the most violent.”

The new position at the Justice Department, dubbed the “Domestic Terrorism Counsel,” served as the main point of contact for U.S. attorney offices nationwide to identify “trends across cases, help shape strategy and analyze legal gaps that need to be closed,” stated Carlin. Is it any wonder how much influence the SPLC had on crafting the DOJ’s Domestic Terrorism Counsel under Obama?

The relationship between the SPLC and its influence on shaping who the federal government investigates as a “domestic terrorist” though, was fully disclosed in a 2014 Annual Report on the Southern Poverty Law Center. In part, the report boasts that the SPLC “investigative team exposed the growing threat from the radical right, trained thousands of law enforcement officials to counter the threat, and pushed the federal government to open its eyes to domestic terrorism.” The report specifically highlights that the SPLC “successfully pushed the federal government to reinstate a high-level task force on domestic terrorism.”

Under the title of “Fighting Hate“, the 2014 SPLC report highlights work done by their very own Intelligence Project which monitored “hate groups” and extremist activity in all 50 states and provided updates to law enforcement, government agencies, the media, scholars and policymakers.

The following is an excerpt from the report:

  • In 2013, the Project documented 939 hate groups and 1,096 antigovernment “Patriot” groups, including armed militias. In addition, it fought the mainstreaming of “hate and extremist” propaganda by shining a spotlight on public officials who help legitimize groups such as the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA).
  • In October, the Intelligence Project and a coalition of human rights groups called on members of Congress and other public officials not to speak at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., because the event host and its key co-sponsor – the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA) – have long records of “vilifying the LGBT community.”
  • After the coalition sent letters urging speakers to forego the event, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal backed out. U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia also canceled his appearance at the Values Voter Summit, where he was set to headline a fundraising luncheon for the AFA.

These reports were often taken by the media throughout the years and regurgitated as if they were factual and not based on a defamatory claim with no basis in fact. Given the amount of money, influence and cozy access the SPLC has been able to garner within the swamp for so many years as a non-profit organization “devoted to fighting hate”, we deserve to see what’s in their offshore bank accounts.

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5 Comments

  1. It is about time! Put the hammer down hard.

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