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SPLC's Reputation as Frauds & Conmen Grows



Commentary by J. A. Davis & Steve Scroggins

"[Dees is] the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement, though I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye." -- Millard Farmer, former associate of SPLC founder Morris Dees.
 

For years now we at the Georgia Heritage Council have been publishing the ugly truth about The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and passing on the occasional informative journalism published by others. Our archives contain a number of articles illustrating SPLC's track record of mercenary character assassination, disinformation, greed, distortions, and outright falsehoods. All the while SPLC encouraged, ignored or participated in intolerance against 'approved' targets. A few in the major media have noted the SPLC's hypocrisy, greed and shady doings, but unfortunately the vast majority continue to devalue their own credibility by quoting the SPLC as if they were a legitimate authority and not the perpetrators of fraudulent smears, scaremongering and racketeering.

The worm seems to be turning now. More attention is slowly being focused on little known or unpublicized facts about SPLC. Some of the most liberal oriented publications such as the Huffington Post are now saying what we've been saying, in effect that the SPLC is not the watchdog of hate they claim to be, but rather they are the distributors of distortions and smears to promote their shameless fundraisers. (Our words, not theirs.)

Recent Alarmism: Crying 'Wolf' again...

SPLC publicist Mark Potok wrote in the July 2nd Huffington Post with their typical alarmist tone that the SPLC had uncovered dozens of 'radical plots and rampages' -- this story intended to promote their latest report, 75 Cases. Quick --- Send money!! The SPLC issued another hysterical alert entitled The Second Wave: The Return of the Militias August 12th.

In it the SPLC suggests huge increases in hate group activity, especially armed militias --- most of which they claim is instigated by opponents of illegal immigration and by the presence of a half-black President in the White House--- implying with little subtlety that the policy positions of the groups "profiled" are based on racial hatred. The report attempts to suggest that numerous groups (OK, ALL groups) opposed to the policies of the Obama administration are some kind of front for domestic terrorists---- all driven by, you guessed it, racism.

The SPLC pulls out all the stops on this one naming or associating just about every mainstream right-leaning group, including prominent citizens and commentators. Can you say, "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy"? Critics have rightfully characterized SPLC's over-reaching report as exaggerated and misleading hogwash.

CNN's Lou Dobbs has been wise to the SPLC's smear game for quite some time and he's even called them the “Southern Poverty Lie Center." Not surprisingly SPLC has been attacking him and calling on CNN to fire Dobbs for stating his opinions on illegal immigration and its impact on America. A number of writers and reporters have examined the SPLC complaints against Dobbs and found them outrageously lame (Carol Swain) or at best, "overreacting" (Bill O'Reilly). Blogger Mike Vanderboegh suggested that SPLC President J. Richard Cohen was a cockroach who shouldn't play around with Lou Dobb's light switch: People Who Live in Grass Houses Shouldn't Throw Lawnmowers - 7/1/09

Following the SPLC's "guilt by association" logic, if you happen to agree with Lou Dobbs on Illegal Immigration -- that it should be stopped --- then you, too, are part of this surge of hatred and you might even be a rightwing extemist who should be placed on the watchlist. According to SPLC, you couldn't possibly object simply because illegals are breaking American laws or because illegals bring crime, healthcare, education and other problems--- no -- you absolutely must be a racist.

SPLC's Potok recently shotgunned Rush Limbaugh as a part of the dangerous rightwing racist surge. Limbaugh fired back with more ferocity than is typical to personal smears he has received over the years...giving SPLC exactly what they sought---publicity --- the lifeblood of a fundraiser. Of course, most SPLC donors don't listen to Limbaugh, but they see the SPLC name in related 'news' stories...valiantly battling the voices of hate.

In our view, neither Dobbs nor Limbaugh have hit the core of the real modus operandi and motivation at The Southern Poverty Law Center -- but a number of journalists have. Let's highlight a few items from our dossier on SPLC.

$PLC's Top Priotity: Collections at the Church of Morris Dees

Money. It's all about money and you'll note a thread of greed woven into every action of the SPLC. The first obvious point of note is the word "Poverty" does NOT belong in their name. In 1996 USA Today characterized SPLC as “the nation's richest civil rights organization" when at that time they held a mere $68 million.

The independent charity watchdog group American Institute of Philanthropy, ( http://www.charitywatch.org/ ) gave SPLC a grade of 'F' because SPLC spends only 51 to 65% of its income on program services, and because it continues to fundraise even though it is cash-rich with $137 million (as of 2004) assets. These assets are equal to six years' worth of SPLC's operational expenses, twice that recommended as reasonable by AIP. (Source: Charity Rating Guide and Watchdog Report, Dec. 2004, Vol. 38) SPLC's own website [ www.splcenter.org/donate/financialinfo/financial.jsp ] reports the figure at $156 million as of 2008. Just imagine what their fund would be worth were it not for the recent economic downturn. We understand that it was over $200 million a few years ago.

AIP, BBB and VDARE are certainly not the only people to question SPLC's huge accumulation of cash and the very small amount used to aid legitimate poverty and civil rights cases. An Atlanta attorney (former associate of Dees) with SCHR characterizes SPLC founder Morris Dees as a shameless self-promoter, “a con man and a fraud."

Ken Silverstein, in his article entitled "The Southern Poverty Business Model" published in Harper's Magazine Nov. 2007, quotes Atlanta attorney Stephen B. Bright from a letter Bright sent to the Dean of the Law School at the University of Alabama. In the letter, Bright expressed regrets and appreciation for the invitation to speak at a commencement exercise in Tuscaloosa. Bright goes on to decline an invitation to attend a presentation of the Morris Dees Justice Award and to explain his reasoning. Bright writes:

I also received the law school's invitation to the presentation of the "Morris Dees Justice Award," which you also mentioned in your letter as one of the "great things" happening at the law school. I decline that invitation for another reason. Morris Dees is a con man and fraud, as I and others, such as U.S. Circuit Judge Cecil Poole, have observed and as has been documented by John Egerton, Harper's, the Montgomery Advertiser in its "Charity of Riches" series, and others.

The positive contributions Dees has made to justice--most undertaken based upon calculations as to their publicity and fund raising potential--are far overshadowed by what Harper's described as his "flagrantly misleading" solicitations for money. He has raised millions upon millions of dollars with various schemes, never mentioning that he does not need the money because he has $175 million and two "poverty palace" buildings in Montgomery. He has taken advantage of naive, well-meaning people--some of moderate or low incomes-- who believe his pitches and give to his $175-million operation. He has spent most of what they have sent him to raise still more millions, pay high salaries, and promote himself. Because he spends so much on fund raising, his operation spends $30 million a year to accomplish less than what many other organizations accomplish on shoestring budgets.

The award does not recognize the work of others by associating them with Dees; it promotes Dees by associating him with the honorees. Both the law school and Skadden are diminished by being a part of another Dees scam.

Silverstein's Nov. 2007 'Business Model' item in Harper's was a follow up to his scathing article in Harper's from November of 2000 entitled, "The Church of Morris Dees." The title of that 2000 article was no doubt inspired by a quote from Dees' former associate who described Dees as "the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement though I don't mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye."

Continuing that metaphor, Silverstein writes, "the SPLC spends most of its time--and money--on a relentless fund-raising campaign, peddling memberships in the church of tolerance with all the zeal of a circuit rider passing the collection plate." For us, "the Elmer Gantry of Civil Rights" seems a fitting epitaph for Dees. Despite his vices, Dees keeps dodging exposure and finding new dupes.

Silverstein wrote a brief piece entitled Southern Poverty: richer than Tonga in March 2007 describing the SPLC as "richer than Tonga," meaning that SPLC's assets/income were greater than the GDP of that island nation.

The Hate Industry rises from the ashes of 'Civil Rights'

No one is denying the early works of the SPLC in civil rights, but we can't help but to question Dees' motivations considering the remarks of his former associates and employees as quoted in Silverstein's work combined, of course, with his behavior over several decades.

We would be remiss if we didn't note that the SPLC still attempts to hold on to its 'civil rights' bona fides by listing the name of Julian Bond on their website, and touting that he was the first president of SPLC. {Ooooh, wow!} Bond has gone on to serve as the NAACP's attack dog. His reputation as a demagogue and hustler is solid.

In a 2006 speech at Arkansas’ Fayetteville State University, SPLC’s founding president (and current board member) Julian Bond stated that the Republican Party’s "idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika [sic] flying side by side." He went on to describe Republicans as "the Taliban wing of American politics."

Bond later denied the 'swastika' remark but the Fayetteville Observer had his comments on tape. So much for tolerance of the opposing party and Southerners in general. Make no mistake, millions of people were offended by that outrageous remark. With leadership like this on the board, the SPLC's mission is secure.

One wonders why the NAACP struggles to avoid bankruptcy while the SPLC just gets richer and richer. Could it be that the SPLC has a better salesman and has demonstrated more skills at avoiding or squelching scandal after scandal? After all, the NAACP has followed much of the same formula as SPLC in attacking Southern symbols and heroes and to constantly invoke the bogie man of 'hatred' and 'racism.' It could be that other shakedown artists (Rainbow/PUSH, et al) are working the same orchard and grabbing the low-hanging fruit before the NAACP gets there. We suppose the NAACP's fundraising appeals are just not as convincing....or perhaps, they don't have the "high quality" target-rich mailing list that SPLC does.

Morris Dees advanced the future of the SPLC by performing fund-raising activities for the Democratic party in several elections including presidential races (McGovern, Carter, Dukakis et al). His deal was that he could keep and use the fund raising mail lists from those campaigns and those served as a spring board for SPLC to send alarms to a list of mostly liberal folks about Klansmen or various other impotent or almost extinct hate groups that were supposedly lurking in their very neighborhoods, poised to strike.

He cleverly manipulated the media and law enforcement with the "Intelligence Reports" [sic] publications that presented a very distorted interpretation of the race picture in America. For the most part, the media bought and is still buying the claptrap the SPLC publishes. Most every daily newspaper in Georgia has published stories based on SPLC reports presenting the SPLC as experts and their reports as "objective fact."

Our own experience in discussing the SPLC releases with the local radio station monopoly (Gainesville) is simply they are not interested in investigating the SPLC or any of the references cited herein. They attempted to change the subject by saying they investigated the ACLU's anti-Christian activities refusing to believe the SPLC initiated suits against the display of religious symbols in public which they insist was done wholly by the ACLU.

It is an undisputed fact that the SPLC was a plaintiff in the federal suit to remove the Ten Commandments from the rotunda of the State Judiciary building in Montgomery. You may recall the controversy over Justice Roy Moore's stand. The SPLC has habitually defamed the Catholic Church and 'the Christian right' in general. Perhaps the following quote suggests why the SPLC hates displays of the Ten Commandments...

"The Southern Poverty Law Center tramples this holy Commandment into dust through its publication of falsehoods, half truths, and odious rhetoric against those whom it wishes to demonize. This disdain for the Eighth Commandment is a mortal sin that sends the soul to hell. It appears that those at the SPLC do not believe in mortal sin, and think themselves above a Biblical injunction in force since the days of Moses." ---John Vennari, from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Hate-Mongers

Speaking of Gainesville, it's especially interesting that SPLC chose to take a shot at GHC while it was generally smearing most of North Georgia as a hotbed of racism and xenophobia. In SPLC's melodramatic hatchet-job entitled, The Battle of 'Georgiafornia', they were listing all the hate groups that supposedly flourish in Hall County when they just happened to drop this little bomb:

"Gainesville is also home to the Georgia Heritage Coalition, which — when it's not defending the Confederate battle flag — spreads the word that 'Immigration is out of control — and you are being lied to.'"

Of course, we don't ordinarily read SPLC's pulp fiction, so we missed this Winter 2004 issue. But it was republished by Creative Loafing in Atlanta in Feb. 2005 and that one did catch our attention. Jeff Davis responded with a letter to Creative Loafing, which they published in part, along with additional distortions and falsehoods from SPLC's Heidi Beirich (in rebuttal), which were intended to 'prove' SPLC's suggestion that GHC was an extremist, dangerous organization. This episode taught us that SPLC does, in fact, notice our website and that our previous criticisms of SPLC most likely earned us that little gig. GHC is not currently on the SPLC Hate Group list but we expect this commentary (and the ones to follow) to get GHC listed again. The SPLC bullies are not very tolerant of the truth or criticism in any form.

Political Connections, Fellow Travelers & the Endless Series of Hobgoblins

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." --H.L. Mencken, from In Defense of Women, 1918

Through their tight political association with Democratic administrations, the SPLC has been paid to provide at taxpayers expense various forums on sensitivity, tolerance and multi-culturalism. Several law enforcement agencies have been involved with them. Many law enforcement officials openly support the SPLC and supply them with tips and information.

Sidebar: We are updating our research on the SPLC's close association with and promotion of some very colorful characters with long communist organization histories, including leadership positions. Jim Dean will doing a whole series of background reports about the SPLC's dirty dancing with these folks and it will also include the mass media's cooperation in hiding their backgrounds when they are presented as 'civil rights experts,' a journalistic fraud on a major scale.

Aside from Morris Dees' close association with and support of reputed communists, it's not widely known that Dees was reportedly arrested and removed from the Joan Little murder trial in 1975 for suborning perjury. The felony charge was later dropped but the presiding judge, Hamilton Hobgood, refused to re-admit Dees to the case. The refusal was upheld on appeal after the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Dees appeal. ( Burlington Times, July 30, 1975. The Progressive, July 1988.) One might think this would give pause to law enforcement officers who continue to support Dees.

Obviously, the SPLC benefits when the U.S. government lends its name to reports of "rightwing extremism" and potential security threats (continuing the Endless Series of Hobgoblins). The suspected inside political payoffs to Morris Dees and the Southern Poverty Law Center evidenced themselves early in the Obama administration when out of the blue with no previous discussion, hearings or public notice, the newly appointed head of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano, announced a complete package of suspicious persons/groups which should be noted by authorities.

This outrageous list of generalizations is very similar in form and wording (less the hyperbole) to the "ideological profiles" the SPLC regularly issues to alarm potential donors (marks) about extremists, racists, terrorists, troublemakers in order to keep the money flowing. Included on the watch list were American military veterans, citizens who may have displayed signs or bumper stickers against abortion, WBTS re-enactors, opponents of illegal immigration and open borders, hunters, shooting enthusiasts and gun collectors, citizens against gay marriage, among others. Conservapedia.com calls this being "Politically Profiled." We are reminded of Nixon's "enemies list" and Clinton's abuse of the IRS to harrass political opponents...except in this case, the unelected SPLC is lobbying Congress to harrass its ideological opponents and DHS to publish scaremongering generalizations.

The DHS report is best described as a "sweeping indictment of conservatives" in that it suggests that anyone with right-leaning beliefs is a potentially violent threat. This general DHS attack (4/7/09) was followed in detail by SPLC's more specific report Aug. 12th (see above). Compare the two reports. SPLC's report takes generalizations, adds a few isolated incidents intended to 'prove' generalizations, weaves in more emotional, suggestive rhetoric, and presto!...they are ready to scare the pockets loose on the cowering masses hunkered down in their condos.

When DHS was pressed under FOIA to disclose the information's origin, we learn that, according to GetLiberty.org, "DHS functionaries simply cruised the Internet (in tin-foil hats, no doubt) and relied entirely upon some of the most disreputable sites on the web to stage its attack upon its 'rightwing' targets." Their key sources, it turns out, were WhatDoesItMean.com and the SPLC's website.

From our visit to the Whatdoesitmean.com website, we see that they contend that the U.S. government has been in direct contact with extra-terrestrial aliens through sophisticated radio waves. Wow! Lying conmen and loopy alien-conspiracy nuts are providing intel to our Homeland Security officials and the Obama administration. Makes you all warm and fuzzy, doesn't it?

Immediate public indignation prompted Secretary Napolitano to announce the list was being reviewed. To date we have heard of no revisions, though they could have taken place. It seems the public should know exactly what Homeland Security is advising our law enforcement agencies to observe --- even though they may not want to know.

Tolerance for Approved Hate

The US Attorney General recently saw fit to dismiss charges against members of The Black Panthers Party who intimidated white voters at the polls in Philadelphia in November 2008. Uniformed men with night sticks were "caught on video blocking access to the polls, and physically threatening and verbally harassing voters." The SPLC lists the Black Panthers Party as a hate group, but there's not a peep from SPLC about those charges being dropped and that racially driven hate crimes are getting a free pass. Hmmm.

We wonder what volume of protest the SPLC would spew if the intimidators were white and the victims were of color? We wonder how the federal government views law-abiding 'rightwing' Americans as threats, but has no problem with Black Panther thugs intimidating voters?

Exaggeration, Distortion and the Broad Brush Smear

Meanwhile, to inflate their list of ‘hate crimes,' SPLC includes dozens of cases where teenagers have been accused of 'hate' crimes for graffiti in school rest rooms. The vast majority of so-called "hate crimes" that SPLC tracks are the 'distribution of literature.' We're not making this up, folks! The silver haired ladies of the UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy) are advertising their bake sales and they put Confederate symbols on their flyers! The gentlemen of the SCV ( Sons of Confederate Veterans ) are selling Confederate flag bumper stickers at the county fair. Quick! Put another pin on the Map of Hate! GHC published several reports by our Artic Correspondent Greg Hanson on SPLC's bogus reporting and exaggerating tactics in 2004:

"What makes the Southern Poverty Law Center 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. The late novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand called this 'the broad-brush smear.'" --Don Feder, THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER – NO ARTISTRY IN ITS SMEARS, 11/28/07

Commentator Don Feder, himself the subject of 2007 SPLC smears, notes that a favorite tactic of the SPLC is the indirect smear where they often attribute their views to unnamed observers. For example, "The Southern Poverty Law Center's tactics are seen by many as devious and/or reprehensible." Feder adds that SPLC's tactics "make the Anti-Defamation League and the ACLU seem nuanced, objective and calm by comparison."

As we have long noted, the groups SPLC classifes as 'hate groups' often stretches the limits of any reasonable skeptic. View the lists and 'hate maps' on their website and judge for yourself. VDARE.com? The American Border Patrol? FAIR? GHC? The SCV? The UDC? The League of the South? Anyone who defends the history of the southern soldier or the right of States to secede? Come on, folks. VDARE.com viewed their listing as a badge of honor, and entitled it VDARE endorsed by SPLC.

The online encyclopedia (AllExperts.com) lists the following for SPLC's coining the disparaging label "Neo-Confederate":

The Southern Poverty Law Center is also the principal group reporting on the "neo-confederate" movement, a movement [they say is] to reconstruct the image and reputation of the Confederacy, but [the term is] frequently used to vilify any public figure or organization which ascribes to any positive view of any aspect of the Confederacy. A special report by the SPLC's Mark Potok in their magazine, Intelligence Report, describes a number of groups as "neo-confederate". The SPLC has carried subsequent articles on the neo-confederate movement. "Lincoln Reconstructed" published in 2003 in the Intelligence Report focuses on the resurgent demonization of Abraham Lincoln in the South. The article quotes the chaplain of the SCV as giving an invocation which recalled "the last real Christian civilization on Earth." The article further mentions that the LewRockwell.com website hosts a collection of anti-Lincoln articles, which led Marcus Epstein of the von Mises Institute to compare the SPLC's tactics to McCarthyism[19]. "Whitewashing the Confederacy" was an SPLC review that alleged that the movie Gods and Generals presented a false, pro-confederate view of history. [20] Myles Kantor of FrontPage Magazine described the review as a "web of falsehood."[21]

We think Epstein's use of "McCarthyism" to describe SPLC's tactics has merit, in the sense that SPLC's broad brush smearing of so-called 'neo-confederates' are rightfully described as a "witch-hunt" not to mention ridiculous.

"Despite the group's [SPLC] assertion, there is not a proliferation of hate groups, just an ever expanding definition of 'hate' the SPLC uses to include perfectly mainstream conservatives and opponents of illegal immigration..." --Marcus Epstein, von Mises Institute, from The SPLC Feels Your Hate

Columnist John Leo reported in 2004, in a piece entitled "A Really Ugly Shade of Green," about an internal power struggle within the environmental group The Sierra Club. In a nutshell, one faction brought in the SPLC to smear the other faction as 'racists.' There was a power struggle on Sierra's policy with regard to immigration and population (and its environmental impact). The SPLC have a well-earned reputation as mercenary character assassins --- but they even joined the organization to help one faction smear the other and take control in the policy debate on immigration. Steve Scroggins added his two cents to Leo's comments back in his commentary entitled Sierra Club leaders engage SPLC to attack dissidents as "Racists".

More Tolerance for Approved Hate...AKA Hypocrisy

Lynn Stuter, in her expose entitled, SPLC Shows Its True Colors, notes that SPLC lists the group American Border Patrol as an “anti-immigrant hate group" while they do NOT list The National Council of La Raza, also based in Arizona, as a hate group. View their websites and judge for yourself.

La Raza, literally translated to English is "the race." Their slogan is "Por La Raza todo, Fuera de La Raza nada" meaning "For the Race everything, outside the Race nothing." One chapter says on La Raza's site that their mission is "empowerment of our gente and the liberation of Aztlán." Aztlan is the American southwest which they claim still belongs to Mexico. La Raza receives tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to set up charter schools like the Aztlán Academy of Tucson where they fly the Mexican Flag, but not the American Flag and teach students "Aztec Math." (Note: If any of our readers have ever seen a mass media story where La Raza is translated to English ["the race"], please let us know about it.) It's notable that the most recent U.S. Supreme Court Justice and the Attorney General in the previous administration were members of La Raza.

In 1994, La Raza gave their "Chicano of the Year" Award to Jose Angel Guitierrez who once said, "We have got to eliminate the Gringo, and what I mean by that is that if the worse comes to the worst, we have got to kill him" and that "our devil has pale skin and blue eyes." What a role model to hold up for emulation! Stuter lists other hispanic racist groups (e.g. MALDEF) that get a free pass from SPLC.

La Raza can be openly racist and yet get a free pass from SPLC (and the mass media) while the American Border Patrol opposes only illegal immigration and claims by Mexican reconquistas to rightful ownership of the American southwest. It seems that the SPLC is very selective of what type of hate they oppose. Glenn Spencer, the founder of The American Patrol, defends himself against SPLC smears on their website.

Political Smear Trends

Of course, the recent spate of alarmist subterfuge (July-August 2009) from the SPLC is not really a surprise as it reflects a trend across the country. Despite the rather obvious truth that many millions of whites voted for Obama, the liberal left has shifted its mantra from "Dissent is patriotism" (Bush era) to "Dissent is racism" (since Jan. 2009). This ridiculous assertion has grown old already and Obama has been president only seven months. As columnist John Hawkins points out, people are already rolling their eyes, but these incessant shrill claims of racism are discounting any real claims of racism that may come along. Hawkins' column echoes many of the ideas we expressed in our commentary entitled, Race Hustlers in Damage Control Mode. And just think, we have over three more years to endure Obama and his legion of brown shirts incessantly screaming "racist!"

SPLC's "Charitable" Poverty Palace

Of course, for any highlight reel we must include the fine "Charity of Riches" series that originated in Montgomery, AL, the hometown of the SPLC. The AllExpert.com encyclopedia summarizes the Montgomery Advertiser series on SPLC as follows:

In 1994 The Montgomery Advertiser published an 9-part investigative series alleging financial mismanagement, poor management practices, misleading fundraising, and institutionalized racism at the SPLC. The newspaper summarized its investigation as producing evidence of "a complex portrait of a wealthy civil rights organization essentially controlled by one man: Morris Dees." (Montgomery Advertiser, Feb. 13-14 1994)

Findings from the Advertiser investigation included the following:

* 12 of 13 African-American former employees of the SPLC who were contacted by the newspaper reported experiencing or observing racial discrimination during their employment. Black former employees were quoted stating that the Center was "like a plantation" run by white supervisors.
* The SPLC's legal department is composed primarily of whites and had only employed two African American attorneys on staff over 23 years of operation (as of 1994).
* From 1984 to 1994 the SPLC received almost $62 million in contributions but spent only $20.8 million on its anti-poverty and anti-discrimination programs.
* An SPLC fundraising letter that raised several million dollars for the organization claims the Center's legal team secured a $7 million victim's settlement against the Ku Klux Klan for the lynching of Michael McDonald, however McDonald's mother and heir Beulah Mae received only $51,874.70 from the settlement.
* A "random sampling of donors" to the SPLC, defined as "people who receive a steady stream of fund-raising letters and newsletters," indicated "they had no idea the Law Center was so wealthy" when interviewed.

The Advertiser also interviewed several former SPLC affiliates who alleged financial improprieties on the part of the Center. Pamela Summers, formerly a legal fellow with the Center, told the newspaper that the Center's legal department operates "as though the sole, overriding goal is to make money." Summers accused Dees of avoiding "go(ing) to court" on discrimination cases and instead relying upon financial contributions to obtain money.

The Center threatened legal action against the newspaper during the publication of the series, and lobbied against its consideration for journalism awards. Nonetheless, the investigative series was a finalist for a 1995 Pulitzer Prize.

Are you detecting a pattern emerging? We think the above sketch, together with the sources and links herein cited, gives the reader an idea of the character of Morris Dees and his creature, the Southern Poverty Law Center. We are indebted to the few courageous journalists who have written the truth, and to the legion of SPLC smear victims who have documented their cases and shared with others. We hope this small collection will help warn potential donors to direct their hard-earned money to worthy charities. We hope it convinces journalists and news/opinion outlets of all stripes to look deeper and to question any 'information' purveyed to them by the SPLC. Regardless of whether one agrees with the beliefs and ideology of the victim, we should never condone distortions and innuendo as a means of character assassination for any purpose, let alone for profit.

"It behooves every man who values liberty of conscience for himself, to resist invasions of it in the case of others; or their case may, by change of circumstances, become his own." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Benjamin Rush, 1803

"We are bound, you, I, and every one to make common cause, even with error itself, to maintain the common right of freedom of conscience." --Thomas Jefferson, letter to Edward Dowse, 1803

We have a lot more dots to connect and we know there is much more to be revealed; we'll publish additional connections in the near future and more over time. If you have sources, published reports and dots to connect that are not listed above, please send us the details. More to come...

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