Sen. Tom Cotton fired another volley at the embattled Southern Poverty Law Center with a letter asking the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the vengeful speech arbiter’s tax-exempt status.
“[I]n the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation, I believe that the SPLC’s conduct warrants a serious and thorough investigation,” Cotton wrote IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig on Tuesday.
FULL TEXT of letter from @SenTomCotton urging that the IRS look into the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) tax-exempt status "in the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation." pic.twitter.com/QX7bocbLdF
— Nate Madden (@NateOnTheHill) April 3, 2019
Cotton cited recent concerns in left-leaning news outlets about an organization these outlets have legitimized for decades despite a Pulitzer Prize-nominated expose back in 1994, and many others since, of SPLC’s fraudulent, defamatory smear practices.
“[T]he SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation,” Cotton wrote. “…The SPLC operates as a tax-sheltered slush fund to enrich its leadership.”
In March, the Washington Free Beacon reported SPLC had amassed more than half a billion dollars in assets and placed $121 million of those in offshore accounts. SPLC is often referenced by media outlets and consulted by major American companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter. It spends millions on politically motivated lawsuits and labels people and organizations “hate groups,” “racists,” “white supremacists,” and purveyors of “hate speech.”
SPLC has applied these labels to non-racist conservatives such as Charles Murray, Sen. Rand Paul, and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, and non-bigoted organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and the Ruth Institute, grouping them with actually extremist, racist, and violent organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan and Nation of Islam. This behavior has generated a number of defamation lawsuits and decades of investigative work by both right-leaning and left-leaning outlets outing SPLC as a high-dollar social-justice scam.
Despite this, mainstream media such as ABC, CNN, The New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Politico, and new media such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter continued to lend SPLC credibility and fundraising cachet by partnering with and referencing their “hate watch” designations. This continued even after a man used SPLC’s “hate map” in 2012 to enter the Family Research Council’s DC office with a gun and the intent, he later told police, to murder as many as possible because they are religiously conservative. He shot the African-American security guard before being subdued.
SPLC continued to label FRC a “hate group” after this shooting, with founder Morris Dees defending that designation to outlets that continued to cite his organization’s work. They also continued to do so after Murray and a professor were violently attacked in 2017 by a mob at Middlebury College whose rage was ginned up by SPLC’s false designation of Murray as a white supremacist.
Last year, Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, a man subject to legitimate death threats because of his desire to reduce violence within Islamic communities, settled a defamation lawsuit against SPLC for including him and his organization in their “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” It’s absurd to call Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist.” He’s a Muslim himself! Despite the settlement, the major media companies listed above (and others) continued to work with, use, and give credibility to SPLC.
Most recently, Dees resigned from SPLC over employee allegations of sexual harassment and racism within an organization ostensibly dedicated to fighting these things. He’s made tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars running this scam, thanks in part to complicit media companies, and loses none of it by parachuting out. Dees’ departure was followed by that of SPLC president Richard Cohen, and of its legal director and assistant legal director.
Are @facebook and @Twitter going to continue to give this corrupt organization credibility by using them to arbitrate speech on their platforms? If they do, say goodbye to all #MeToo cred, for one thing (of many). https://t.co/m2ctHWKk3y
— Joy Pullmann (@JoyPullmann) March 24, 2019
Facebook continues to consult with SPLC on its hate speech policies, according to information provided to me last night from a spokesperson. The spokesperson hasn’t answered my followup request to define the company’s relationship with SPLC and explain whether anything about that relationship has changed as a result of the cascade of recent SPLC scandals.
Twitter, however, seems to have severed their relationship with SPLC between now and last summer, when The Daily Caller reported SPLC was a “safety partner” on Twitter’s “Trust and Safety Council” helping police speech on the platform. A person familiar told me yesterday that the SPLC “is not a member of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council or a partner the company has worked with recently.”
Neither Amazon nor Google responded to similar inquiries. This article will be updated if any of these major media platforms and publishers provide any further information about their current and future relationship with SPLC. Of course, everyone already knows that if the SPLC were on the political right instead of on the left, all related organizations and prominent supporters on left and right would long ago have publicly disavowed them.