Southern Poverty Law Center

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Southern Poverty Law Center
SPLC Logo.svg.png
Founded 1971; 49 years ago (1971)
  • Public-interest law firm
  • Civil rights advocacy organization
63-0598743 (EIN)
Area served
United States
  • Legal representation
  • Public education
Key people
J. Richard Cohen, President
$40,418,368 (2012 FY)[1]
Endowment $319 million

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a far-left extremist political organization backed by the money of George Soros. Its main function is to smear, slander and denounce all conservative, Christian, pro-family, pro-white, and pro-life groups and politicians.

The SPLC makes a list of so-called "hate-groups" which means any conservative, Christian, pro-family or pro-life groups. Anybody who questions their atheist, materialist, permissive, pro-abortion and LGBT agenda is labelled a "hate-group". Though opposed to Christianity and religion in general, SPLC is pro-Islam, extending legal help to Muslim immigrants to the USA in the belief that this creates cultural and ethnic diversity and tolerance.[2][3][4] [5] The SPLC labels everybody it disagrees with as "extremist". [6] Its consistent support for Islamic and other Third World immigration into the USA, and its demonization of white opponents of population replacement, has led to the SPLC being accused of having an anti-white agenda.[7]

It has a marked left-wing political bias.[8][9] Economist Thomas DiLorenzo has called them the "Soviet Poverty Lie Center", who are allegedly responsible for some hate crime hoaxes.[10]

One journalist writes "The SPLC... falsely maligns ideological opponents in an effort to crush them rather than debate their ideas honestly. I know, because in 2016 the SPLC branded my organization, the religious-liberty nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, a “hate group.”"[11]

The SPLC has also been described as a "hate group" by Josh Goldstein.[12]

Bob Moser, who left the SPLC in 2004, wrote,“It was hard, for many of us, not to feel like we’d become pawns in what was, in many respects, a highly profitable scam... We were part of the con, and we knew it.” Mr. Moser added that he and his colleagues had a cynical slogan: “The SPLC — making hate pay.” [13]

2019 Scandal

In early 2019 the SPLC’s co-founder, Morris Dees, president Richard Cohen and legal director Rhonda Brownstein were all fired after a scandal over workplace conduct, reportedly involving racial prejudice and sexual harassment. [14]


The SPLC headquarters in Montgomery, Alabama.

The Southern Poverty Law Center was founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. in 1971 as a law firm originally focused on issues such as fighting poverty, racial discrimination and the death penalty in the United States. The SPLC's first president was Julian Bond, who served until 1979 and then remained on the board of directors until his death in 2015. In 1979, Dees and the SPLC began monitoring groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, a section of the Democrat Party, sharing their observations with law enforcement agencies (which, after the COINTELPRO program was revealed, were forbidden from monitoring such groups without evidence of criminal activity).[15] They initiated civil suits against KKK chapters and similar organizations for monetary damages to gain justice on behalf of their victims.[15] In 1981, the Center began its Klanwatch project to monitor the activities of the KKK. That project, now called Hatewatch, has been expanded to include seven other types of hate organizations.[16]

In 1986, the entire legal staff of the SPLC, excluding Dees, resigned as the organization shifted from traditional civil rights work toward fighting what they call "right-wing extremism".[15]

In 1989, the Center unveiled its Civil Rights Memorial, which was designed by Maya Lin.[17] The Center's "Teaching Tolerance" project was initiated in 1991.

In 2008, the SPLC and Dees were featured on National Geographic's Inside American Terror explaining their litigation against several branches of the Ku Klux Klan.[18]

Criminal plots against the SPLC

In July 1983, the SPLC headquarters was firebombed, destroying the building and records.[19] As a result of the arson, Klansmen Joe M. Garner and Roy T. Downs Jr., along with Klan sympathizer Charles Bailey, pleaded guilty in February 1985 to conspiring to intimidate, oppress and threaten members of black organizations represented by SPLC.[20] The SPLC rebuilt its headquarters building from 1999 to 2001.[21][22]

In 1984, Dees became an assassination target of The Order, a revolutionary white supremacist group.[23] By 2007, according to Dees, more than 30 people had been jailed in connection with plots to kill him or to blow up SPLC offices.[24][self-published source?]

In 1995, four men were indicted for planning to blow up the SPLC.[25] In May 1998, three white supremacists were arrested for allegedly planning a nationwide campaign of assassinations and bombings targeting "Morris Dees, an undisclosed federal judge in Illinois, a black radio show host in Missouri, Dees's Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and the Anti-Defamation League in New York."[26]

Notable cases

The Southern Poverty Law Center has initiated a number of civil cases seeking injunctive relief and monetary awards on behalf of its clients. The SPLC has said it does not accept any portion of monetary judgments.[27][28] Dees and the SPLC "have been credited with devising innovative legal ways to cripple hate groups, including seizing their assets."[29] However, this has led to criticism from some civil libertarians, who contend that the SPLC's tactics chill free speech and set legal precedents that could be applied against activist groups which are not hate groups.[15] The SPLC has also filed suits related to the conditions of incarceration for adults and juveniles.

Alabama political districts

Starting from their home base, the first notable SPLC case was Sims v. Amos (consolidated with Nixon v. Brewer) in which a Federal District Court in Alabama ordered the state legislature to reapportion its election system. The result of the decision, which was affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, was that 15 black legislators were elected in 1974.[30]

Vietnamese fishermen

In 1981, the SPLC took Ku Klux Klan leader Louis Beam's Klan-associated militia, the Texas Emergency Reserve (TER),[31] to court to stop racial harassment and intimidation of Vietnamese shrimpers in and around Galveston Bay.[32] The Klan's actions against approximately 100 Vietnamese shrimpers in the area included a cross burning,[33] sniper fire aimed at them, and arsonists burning their boats.[34] In May 1981 U.S. District Court judge Gabrielle McDonald[35] issued a preliminary injunction against the Klan, requiring them to cease intimidating, threatening, or harassing the Vietnamese.[36] McDonald eventually found the TER and Beam liable for tortious interference, violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and of various civil rights statutes and thus permanently enjoined them against violence, threatening behavior, and other harassment of the Vietnamese shrimpers.[35] The SPLC also uncovered an obscure Texas law "that forbade private armies in that state."[37] McDonald found that Beam's organization violated it and hence ordered the TER to close its military training camp.[37]

White Patriot Party

In 1982 armed members of the Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan terrorized Bobby Person, a black prison guard, and members of his family. They harassed and threatened others, including a white woman who had befriended blacks. In 1984 Person became the lead plaintiff in Person v. Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a lawsuit brought by the SPLC in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The harassment and threats continued during litigation and the court issued an order prohibiting any person from interfering with others inside the courthouse.[38] In January 1985, the court issued a consent order that prohibited the group's "Grand Dragon", Frazier Glenn Miller, Jr., and his followers from operating a paramilitary organization, holding parades in black neighborhoods, and from harassing, threatening or harming any black person or white persons who associated with black persons. Subsequently, the court dismissed the plaintiffs' claim for damages.[38]

Within a year the court found Miller and his followers, now calling themselves the White Patriot Party, in criminal contempt for violating the consent order. Miller was sentenced to six months in prison followed by a three-year probationary period, during which he was banned from associating with members of any racist group such as the White Patriot Party. Miller refused to obey the terms of his probation. He made underground "declarations of war" against Jews and the federal government before being arrested again. Found guilty of weapons violations, he went to federal prison for three years.[39][40]

United Klans of America

In 1987, SPLC won a case against the United Klans of America for the lynching of Michael Donald, a black teenager in Mobile, Alabama.[41] The SPLC used an unprecedented legal strategy of holding an organization responsible for the crimes of individual members to help produce a $7 million judgment for the victim's mother.[41] The verdict forced United Klans of America into bankruptcy. Its national headquarters was sold for approximately $52,000 to help satisfy the judgment.[42] In 1987, five members of a Klan offshoot, the White Patriot Party, were indicted for stealing military weaponry and plotting to kill Dees.[43] The SPLC has since successfully used this precedent to force numerous Ku Klux Klan and other hate groups into bankruptcy.[44]

The Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery

White Aryan Resistance

On November 13, 1988, in Portland, Oregon, three white supremacist members of East Side White Pride and White Aryan Resistance (WAR) fatally assaulted Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian man who came to the United States to attend college.[45] In October 1990, the SPLC won a civil case on behalf of Seraw's family against WAR's operator Tom Metzger and his son, John, for a total of $12.5 million.[46][47] The Metzgers declared bankruptcy, and WAR went out of business. The cost of work for the trial was absorbed by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as well as the SPLC.[48] As of August 2007, Metzger still makes payments to Seraw's family.[49][needs update]

Church of the Creator

In May 1991, Harold Mansfield Jr, a black war veteran in the United States Navy, was murdered by George Loeb, a member of the neo-Nazi "Church of the Creator" (now called the Creativity Movement).[50] SPLC represented the victim's family in a civil case and won a judgement of $1 million from the church in March 1994.[51] The church transferred ownership to William Pierce, head of the National Alliance, to avoid paying money to Mansfield's heirs. The SPLC filed suit against Pierce for his role in the fraudulent scheme and won an $85,000 judgment against him in 1995.[52] The amount was upheld on appeal and the money was collected prior to Pierce's death in 2002.[52]

Christian Knights of the KKK

The SPLC won a $37.8 million verdict on behalf of Macedonia Baptist Church, a 100-year-old black church in Manning, South Carolina, against two Ku Klux Klan chapters and five Klansmen (Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Invisible Empire, Inc.) in July 1998.[53] The money was awarded stemming from arson convictions; these Klan units burned down the historic black church in 1995.[54] Morris Dees told the press, "If we put the Christian Knights out of business, what's that worth? We don't look at what we can collect. It's what the jury thinks this egregious conduct is worth that matters, along with the message it sends."[55] According to The Washington Post the amount is the "largest-ever civil award for damages in a hate crime case."

Aryan Nations

In September 2000, the SPLC won a $6.3 million judgment against the Aryan Nations (AN) from an Idaho jury who awarded punitive and compensatory damages to a woman and her son who were attacked by Aryan Nations guards.[56] The lawsuit stemmed from the July 1998 attack when security guards at the Aryan Nations compound near Hayden Lake in northern Idaho, shot at Victoria Keenan and her son.[57] Bullets struck their car several times, causing the car to crash. An Aryan Nations member held the Keenans at gunpoint.[57] As a result of the judgement, Richard Butler turned over the 20-acre (81,000 m2) compound to the Keenans, who sold the property to a philanthropist. He donated the land to North Idaho College, which called the area a "peace park".[58] Because of the lawsuit, members of the AN drew up a plan to kill Dees, which was disrupted by the FBI.[citation needed]

Ten Commandments monument

In 2002, the SPLC and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit against Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore for placing a display of the Ten Commandments in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. Moore, who had final authority over what decorations were to be placed in the Alabama State Judicial Building's Rotunda, had installed a 5,280 pound (2400 kg) granite block, three feet wide by three feet deep by four feet tall, of the Ten Commandments late at night without the knowledge of any other court justice. After defying several court rulings, Moore was eventually removed from the court and the Supreme Court justices had the monument removed from the building.[59]

Ranch Rescue

On March 18, 2003, two illegal immigrants from El Salvador, Edwin Alfredo Mancía Gonzáles and Fátima del Socorro Leiva Medina, were trespassing through a Texas ranch owned by Joseph Sutton. They were accosted by voluntary militia members from Ranch Rescue, who were recruited by Sutton to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border region nearby.[39] Mancía, Leiva, and the SPLC alleged that members of Ranch Rescue held the two illegal immigrants at gunpoint while attempting and failing to summon law enforcement, threatened them with death, and otherwise terrorized them; they also alleged that Mancía was struck on the back of the head with a handgun and that a Rottweiler dog was allowed to attack him.[39][60] Mancía and Leiva also stated that the vigilantes gave them water, cookies and a blanket before letting them go after about an hour.[60]

Later that year, SPLC, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and local attorneys filed a civil suit, Leiva v. Ranch Rescue, in Jim Hogg County, Texas, against Ranch Rescue and several of its associates, seeking damages for the temporary detention of illegal immigrants attempting to secretly enter the USA. In April 2005, SPLC obtained judgments totaling $1 million against Ranch Rescue member Casey James Nethercott and Ranch Rescue's leader, Torre John Foote. Those awards came six months after a $350,000 judgment in the same case and coincided with a $100,000 out-of-court settlement with Sutton. Nethercott’s 70-acre (280,000 m2) Arizona property, which was Ranch Rescue's headquarters, was seized to pay the judgment. Nethercott was also charged by Texas prosecutors of pistol-whipping Mancía (which Nethercott denied). A jury deadlocked on the pistol-whipping charge but convicted Nethercott of being a felon in possession of a firearm (as he had a prior assault conviction in California).[60] SPLC staff worked with Texas prosecutors to obtain Nethercott's conviction.[39][61]

Billy Ray Johnson

The SPLC brought a civil suit on behalf of Billy Ray Johnson, a black, mentally disabled man, who was severely beaten by four white males in Texas and left bleeding in a ditch, suffering permanent injuries. In 2007 Johnson was awarded $9 million in damages by a Linden, Texas jury.[62][63] At a criminal trial, the four men were convicted of assault and received sentences of 30 to 60 days in county jail.[64][65]

Imperial Klans of America

In November 2008, the SPLC's case against the Imperial Klans of America (IKA), the nation's second-largest Klan organization, went to trial in Meade County, Kentucky.[66] The SPLC had filed suit for damages in July 2007 on behalf of Jordan Gruver and his mother against the IKA in Kentucky. In July 2006, five Klan members went to the Meade County Fairgrounds in Brandenburg, Kentucky, "to hand out business cards and flyers advertising a 'white-only' IKA function." Two members of the Klan started calling Gruver, a 16-year-old boy of Panamanian descent, a "spic".[67] Subsequently, the boy, (5 feet 3 inches (1.60 m) and weighing 150 pounds (68 kg)) was beaten and kicked by the Klansmen (one of whom was 6 feet 5 inches (1.96 m) and 300 pounds (140 kg)). As a result, the victim received "two cracked ribs, a broken left forearm, multiple cuts and bruises and jaw injuries requiring extensive dental repair."[67]

In a related criminal case in February 2007, Jarred Hensley and Andrew Watkins were sentenced to three years in prison for beating Gruver.[66] On November 14, 2008, an all-white jury of seven men and seven women awarded $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages to the plaintiff against Ron Edwards, Imperial Wizard of the group, and Jarred Hensley, who participated in the attack.[68]

Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility

Together with the ACLU National Prison Project, the SPLC filed a class-action suit in November 2010 against the owner/operators of the private Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility in Leake County, Mississippi, and the Mississippi Department of Corrections. They charged that conditions, including under-staffing and neglect of medical care, produced numerous and repeated abuses of youthful prisoners, high rates of violence and injury, and that one prisoner suffered brain damage because of inmate-on-inmate attacks.[69] A federal civil rights investigation was undertaken by the United States Department of Justice. In settling the suit, Mississippi ended its contract with Geo Group in 2012. Additionally, under the court decree, the Mississippi Department of Corrections moved the youthful offenders to state-run units. In 2012 Mississippi opened a new youthful offender unit at the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in Rankin County.[70] The state also agreed to not subject youthful offenders to solitary confinement and a court monitor conducted regular reviews of conditions at the facility.[71]

Polk County Florida Sheriff

In 2012 the SPLC initiated a class action federal lawsuit against the Polk County, Florida sheriff, alleging that seven juveniles confined by the sheriff were suffering in improper conditions.[72] U.S. District Court Judge Steven D. Merryday found in favor of Sheriff Judd, who said the SPLC's allegations "were not supported by the facts or court precedence [sic]."[73] The judge wrote that "the conditions of juvenile detention at (Central County Jail) are not consistent with (Southern Poverty's) dark, grim, and condemning portrayal."[74] While the county sheriff's department did not recover an estimated $1 million in attorney's fees defending the case, Judge Merryday did award $103,000 in court costs to Polk County.[75]

East Mississippi Correctional Facility

Together with the ACLU National Prison Project, the SPLC filed a class-action suit in May 2013 against Management and Training Corporation (MTC), the for-profit operator of the private East Mississippi Correctional Facility, and the Mississippi Department of Corrections.[76] MTC had been awarded a contract for this and two other facilities in Mississippi in 2012 following the removal of GEO Group. The suit charged failure of MTC to make needed improvements, and to maintain proper conditions and treatment for this special needs population of state prisoners, who are low-functioning and said to suffer from severe mental illness.[77] In 2015 the court granted the plaintiffs' motion for class certification.[78][needs update]

Andrew Anglin and The Daily Stormer

In April 2017, the SPLC filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Tanya Gersh, accusing Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website The Daily Stormer, of instigating an antisemitic harassment campaign against Gersh, a Whitefish, Montana progressive activist.[79][80] Anglin maintains that she initiated a deliberate harassment campaign against him first, and that he only asked his readers to send her peaceful protest messages.[81]

Information activism

Closeup of the Civil Rights Memorial

SPLC's projects include the website, which provides news on efforts to increase the spread of diversity (and coordinates the fight against the SPLC's opponents), children's advocacy programs (with materials for parents and teachers), and guidebooks for activists.[82] The website received Webby Awards in 2002 and 2004 for Best Activism.[83] Another product of is the "10 Ways To Fight Hate on Campus: A Response Guide for College Activists" booklet.[84] While the SPLC calls these efforts educational, right-wing activists call them propaganda.


The SPLC also produces left-wing documentary films. Two have won Academy Awards for Documentary Short Subject: A Time for Justice (1994) and Mighty Times: The Children's March (2004).[85]

Cooperation with law enforcement

The SPLC communicates with law enforcement agencies and provides them with materials focusing on their interpretation of "the history, background, leaders and activities of far-right extremists in the United States".[86] The FBI has partnered with the SPLC and many other organizations "to establish rapport, share information, address concerns, and cooperate in solving problems" related to hate crimes.[87]

Tracking of hate groups and extremists

Hate group and extremist designations

The SPLC is the organization most widely known for tracking hate groups in the United States. It maintains lists of hate groups, which they define as groups that "...have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics." It says that hate group activities may include speeches, marches, rallies, meetings, publishing, leafleting, and criminal acts such as violence. Not all groups so listed by the SPLC engage in criminal activity. The process for determining which groups are included involves "talking through" cases that are not clear-cut.[5][88]

Number of SPLC hate groups per million people, as of 2013

Intelligence Report

Since 1981, the SPLC's Intelligence Project has published a quarterly Intelligence Report that monitors what the SPLC considers radical right hate groups and extremists in the United States.[89] The Intelligence Report provides information regarding organizational efforts and tactics of these groups and persons, and has been cited by scholars as a reliable and comprehensive source on U.S. right-wing extremism and hate groups.[90] The SPLC also publishes HateWatch Weekly, a newsletter that follows racism and extremism, and the Hatewatch blog, whose subtitle is "Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right".[91]

Two articles published in Intelligence Report have won "Green Eyeshade Excellence in Journalism" awards from the Society of Professional Journalists. "Communing with the Council", written by Heidi Beirich and Bob Moser, took third place for Investigative Journalism in the Magazine Division in 2004, and "Southern Gothic", by David Holthouse and Casey Sanchez, took second place for Feature Reporting in the Magazine Division in 2007.[92]

Year in Hate and Extremism

Since 2001, the SPLC has released an annual issue of the Intelligence Project called Year in Hate, later renamed Year in Hate and Extremism, in which they present statistics on the numbers of hate groups in America. The current format of the report covers racial hate groups, nativist hate groups, and other right-wing extremist groups such as groups within the Patriot Movement.[93] Jesse Walker, writing in, criticized the 2016 report, questioning whether the count was reliable, as it focused on the number of groups rather than the number of people in those groups or the size of the groups. Walker gives the example that the 2016 report itself concedes an increase in the number of KKK groups could be due to two large groups falling apart, leading to members creating smaller local groups.[94]


In their study of the white separatist movement in the United States, sociologists Betty A. Dobratz and Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile referred to the SPLC's Klanwatch Intelligence Reports in saying "we relied on the SPLC and ADL for general information, but we have noted differences between the way events have been reported and what we saw at rallies. For instance, events were sometimes portrayed in Klanwatch Intelligence Reports as more militant and dangerous with higher turnouts than we observed."[95]

In 2013, J.M. Berger wrote in Foreign Policy that media organizations should be more cautious when citing the SPLC and ADL, arguing that they are "not objective purveyors of data".[96]

Controversy over hate group and extremist listings

The SPLC's identification and listings of hate groups and extremists has been the subject of controversy.

  • In 2009, the Federation for American Immigration Reform argued that the Allies of America's Voice and Media Matters had used the SPLC designation of FAIR as a hate group to "engage in unsubstantiated, invidious name-calling, smearing millions of people in this movement."[97] FAIR and its leadership have been criticized by the SPLC as being sympathetic to, or overtly supportive of, white supremacist and identitarian ideologies, as the group's founder has stated his goal as ensuring that the United States remains a majority-white country.[98]
  • In 2010, journalist Ken Silverstein and analyst of political fringe movements Laird Wilcox said the SPLC had taken an incautious approach to assigning the labels hate group and extremist.[99]
  • In 2010, a group of Republican politicians and conservative organizations criticized the SPLC in full-page advertisements in two Washington, D.C., newspapers for what they described as "character assassination" because the SPLC had listed the Family Research Council as a hate group due to its characterization of LGBT people as sexual deviants, predators and pedophiles.[100][6][101] In the wake of the August 2012 shooting at the headquarters of the FRC, in which a security guard was wounded, some columnists also criticized the SPLC's listing of the FRC as an anti-gay hate group while others defended the categorization. The SPLC defended its listing of anti-gay hate groups, stating that the groups were selected not because of their stances on political issues such as gay marriage, but rather on their "propagation of known falsehoods about LGBT people ... that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities."[102]
  • In October 2014, the SPLC added Ben Carson to its extremist watch list, citing his association with groups it considers extreme, and his "linking of gays with pedophiles".[103] In February 2015, the SPLC concluded its profile of Carson did not meet its standards, removed his listing, and apologized to him.[104]
  • In October 2016, the SPLC published a list of "anti-Muslim extremists", including British activist Maajid Nawaz and ex-Muslim activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali, attracting controversy. Nawaz, who identifies as a "liberal, reform Muslim", denounced the listing as a "smear", saying that the SPLC listing had made him a target of jihadists. Mark Potok of the SPLC responded "Our point is not to make these people targets for violence.... The point is to tamp down the really baseless targeting."[105]
  • The SPLC has implicitly denied the existence of human biodiversity since its founding, holding that anyone who engages in debate on this matter is likely to have racist leanings and should be exposed as such. The organization began to take a more explicit stand against such talk in the 2010s. In a January 2014 profile of controversial political scientist Charles Murray, the SPLC labeled Murray a "white nationalist."[106] Following the disruption of a presentation by Murray at Middlebury College in March 2017, some commentators were critical of the SPLC's description of Murray.[107] Left-wing college activists were strongly supportive, charging The Bell Curve with laying the underpinnings for a resurgence of scientific racism and the start of limited resistance against political correctness seen outside the universities and the mainstream media.[108]
  • In August 2017, a defamation lawsuit was filed against the SPLC by the D. James Kennedy Ministries for calling it an "active hate group” because of their views on LGBT rights.[109][110][111] The SPLC lists D. James Kennedy Ministries and its predecessor, Truth in Action, as anti-LGBT hate groups because of what the SPLC describes as the group's history of spreading homophobic propaganda, including D. James Kennedy's statement that "homosexuals prey on adolescent boys", and allegedly false claims about the transmission of AIDS.[112]
  • The SPLC first came out against the alt right political movement in an intelligence report published during the 2016 presidential campaign of Donald Trump, and in many statements since then, often condemning non-mainstream neo-conservatives as racists. In the same initial paper, the SPLC further rejected the concept of human biodiversity, and it holds that the major proponents of this debate are likely racists, and their scientific competence may have been distorted by hate.[113]


The SPLC's activities including litigation are supported by fundraising efforts, and it does not accept any fees or share in legal judgments awarded to clients it represents in court. Starting in 1974, the SPLC set aside money for its endowment stating that it was "convinced that the day [would] come when nonprofit groups [would] no longer be able to rely on support through mail because of posting and printing costs."[114]

In 1994 the Montgomery Advertiser published an eight-part critical report on the SPLC, saying that it exaggerated the threat posed by the Klan and similar groups in order to raise money, discriminated against black employees, and used misleading fundraising tactics. The SPLC dismissed the series as a "hatchet job" and SPLC co-founder Joe Levin stated: "The Advertiser's lack of interest in the center's programs and its obsessive interest in the center's financial affairs and Mr. Dees' personal life makes it obvious to me that the Advertiser simply wants to smear the center and Mr. Dees."[115] The series was a finalist for, but did not win the 1995 Pulitzer Prize in Explanatory Journalism.[116]

Also in the 1990s and 2000s Ken Silverstein writing in Harper's Magazine, and others were critical of the SPLC's fundraising appeals and finances, alleging that the group has used hyperbole and overstated the prevalence of hate groups to raise large amounts of money. Silverstein additionally criticized what he argued was the high level of Dees' compensation relative to other nonprofits.[117]

Based on 2015 figures, Charity Navigator rated the SPLC an 80.44 on financial health matters, 97.00 on accountability and transparency, and 86.00 (out of 100) overall, and GuideStar gives the SPLC a Gold-level rating.[118] The SPLC stated that during 2014 it spent about 68% of total expenses on program services. At the end of 2016, its endowment was approximately $319 million.[119]

See also


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  7. (Dec 6, 2016)
  8. J. Matt Barber (Mar 25, 2010)
  9. Austin Ruse (Mar 10, 2014)
  11. Kristen Waggoner, "We Were Smeared by the SPLC", Wall Street Journal, 3rd April 2019,
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  13. Bob Moser, The New Yorker March 21 2019 quoted in Wall Street Journal
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  28. Applebome, Peter (November 21, 1989). "Two Sides of the Contemporary South: Racial Incidents and Black Progress". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  31. Kushner, Harvey W. (1998). The Future of Terrorism: Violence in the New Millennium. SAGE Publications. p. 108. ISBN 978-0761908692.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. Stevens, William K. (May 2, 1981). "Klan Official is Accused of Intimidation". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. Stevens, William K. (April 25, 1981). "Klan Inflames Gulf Fishing Fight Between Whites and Vietnamese". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. Gay, Kathlyn (2012). American Dissidents: An Encyclopedia of Activists, Subversives, and Prisoners of Conscience. ABC-CLIO. p. 183. ISBN 978-1598847642.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. 35.0 35.1 Greenhaw, Wayne (January 1, 2011). Fighting the Devil in Dixie: How Civil Rights Activists Took on the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama. Chicago Review Press. p. 234. ISBN 978-1569768259.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Stevens, William K. (May 15, 1981). "Judge Issues Ban on Klan Threat to Vietnamese". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  37. 37.0 37.1 Gitlin, Marty (2009). The Ku Klux Klan: A Guide to an American Subculture. ABC-CLIO. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-0313365768.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  38. 38.0 38.1 "Person v. Carolina Knights of the Ku Klux Klan" 14, 2006/ Archived February 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine, Southern Poverty Law Center website. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
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  44. The Fiery Cross: The Ku Klux Klan in America. Wade, Wyn Craig.
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  46. The jury divided the judgment as follows: Kyle Brewster, $500,000; Ken Mieske, $500,000; John Metzger, $1 million; WAR, $3 million; Tom Metzger, $5 million; in addition, $2.5 million was awarded for Mulugeta's unrealized future earnings and pain and suffering.
  47. London, Robb (October 26, 1990). "Sending a $12.5 Million Message to a Hate Group". The New York Times. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  51. "Mansfield v. Church of the Creator". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  52. 52.0 52.1 "Mansfield v. Pierce". Southern Poverty Law Center. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. "Klan Must Pay $37 Million for Inciting Church Fire". The New York Times. July 25, 1998. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  54. "Macedonia v. Christian Knights of the Ku Klux Klan". Southern Poverty Law Center. June 7, 1996. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  55. "Klan Chapters Held Liable in Church Fire; Jury Awards $37.8 Million in Damages", The Washington Post July 25, 1998.
  56. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named CNNpioneer
  57. 57.0 57.1 "Keenan v. Aryan Nations". Southern Poverty Law Center. 2000. Archived from the original on July 13, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  58. Wakin, Daniel J. (September 9, 2004). "Richard G. Butler, 86, Dies; Founder of the Aryan Nations". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  59. Regarding the 10 Commandments controversy see:
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 Pollack, Andrew (August 19, 2005). "2 Illegal Immigrants WinArizona Ranch in Court". The New York Times. Retrieved March 28, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  61. "Leiva v. Ranch Rescue" 14, 2006/ Archived February 14, 2006 at the Wayback Machine. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  62. "The Beating of Billy Ray Johnson". Texas Monthly. February 2007. Archived from the original on August 18, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  63. $9 million award in beating case Chicago Tribune, April 21, 2007. Retrieved December 10, 2010
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  66. 66.0 66.1 "No. 2 Klan group on trial in Ky. teen's beating – Southern Poverty Law Center hopes case will bankrupt hate group". MSNBC. Associated Press. November 11, 2008. Retrieved September 12, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  67. 67.0 67.1 "Jordan Gruver and Cynthia Gruver vs. Imperial Klans of America". Southern Poverty Law Center. July 25, 2007. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  68. See: "Jury awards $2.5 million to teen beaten by Klan members". CNN. November 14, 2008. Retrieved November 18, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Note: two other defendants in the civil case, Watkins and Cowles, previously agreed to confidential settlements and were dropped from the suit. See: Kenning, Chris. 2008. “$2.5 million awarded in Klan beating”, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky), November 15, 2008, p. 1.
  69. Burnett, John (March 25, 2011). "Town Relies On Troubled Youth Prison For Profits". NPR.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  70. "MDOC Opens Youthful Offender Unit" 30, 2016/ Archived January 30, 2016 at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, 12 December 2012, Mississippi Dept. of Corrections, accessed 30 January 2016
  71. C.B., et al. v. Walnut Grove Correctional Authority, et al., Southern Poverty Law Center
  72. SPLC – Hughes v. Sheriff Grady Judd Case Number 8:12-cv-00568-SDM-MAP
  73. "Judge rules in favot of Polk in juvenile detainee case". Orlando Sentinel. Bartow, Florida. Associated Press. April 16, 2015. Retrieved 5 March 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  74. Schottelkotte, Suzie (April 16, 2015). "Southern Poverty Law Center Rebuked: Court Rejects SPLC's Allegations About Jail". The Ledger. Tampa, Florida. Retrieved 5 March 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  75. Schottelkotte, Suzie (September 30, 2015). "Polk County Sheriff's Office won't recover $1 million in legal fees from Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit". The Ledger. Bartow, Florida. Retrieved 5 March 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  76. Goode, Erica (2014-06-07). "Seeing Squalor and Unconcern in a Mississippi Jail". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-01-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  77. Gabriel Eber (May 30, 2013). "New Lawsuit: Massive Human Rights Violations at Mississippi Prison", ACLU. Retrieved December 3, 2014.
  78. Dockery v. Epps, updated September 2015, Cases: Prisoners' Rights, ACLU official website; accessed 7 March 2017
  79. Lawsuit: Neo-Nazi Led Anti-Semitic Harassment Campaign Against Montana Woman. Talking Points Memo, 18 April 2017
  80. White supremacist website hit with lawsuit over harassment campaign. The Verge, 18 April 2017
  81. (retrieved July 2017)
  82. "Teaching Tolerance". Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved 2 May 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  83. 6th Annual Webby Awards – 2002 – Best Activism and 8th Annual Webby Awards – 2004 – Best Activism
  84. Willoughby, Brian (2003). 10 Ways To Fight Hate on Campus: A Response Guide for College Activists (PDF). Southern Poverty Law Center. OCLC 53621205. Retrieved 2 May 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  85. "The 67th Academy Awards (1995) Nominees and Winners". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. AMPAS. Retrieved 2 May 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> and 2005 Academy Awards
  86. For information on training see:
  87. For information about hate groups provided to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). See:
    • "Hate Crime – Overview". FBI. Retrieved March 28, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Michael, George (2012). Lone Wolf Terror and the Rise of Leaderless Resistance. Vanderbilt University Press. p. 32. ISBN 0826518559.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Hauslohner, Abigail (February 15, 2017). "Southern Poverty Law Center says American hate groups are on the rise". The Washington Post. Retrieved 4 April 2017. The FBI says it does not investigate organizations characterized by the SPLC as 'hate groups,' or others, unless it has reason to believe that a particular individual is engaged in criminal activity.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  88. [1]
  89. OCLC 70790007
  90. See:
  91. OCLC 753911264
  92. For the articles and awards see:
    • Beirich, Heidi; Bob Moser (2004). "Communing with the Council". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved January 26, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • "Green Eyeshade Awards 2004". Society of Professional Journalists. Archived from the original on January 24, 2009. Retrieved January 26, 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • Holthouse, David; Casey Sanchez (2007). "Southern Gothic". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center. Retrieved January 26, 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • "Green Eyeshade Awards 2007". Society of Professional Journalists. Archived from the original on May 14, 2008. Retrieved January 26, 2009. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  93. "Intelligence Report, browse all issues web page". SPLC. Archived from the original on May 8, 2015. Retrieved May 6, 2015. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  94. Walker, Jesse (February 16, 2017). "The Southern Poverty Law Center Is Counting Extremists Again: Do its numbers tell a story?". Reason Magazine. Reason Foundation. Retrieved 19 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  95. Betty A. Dobratz, Stephanie L. Shanks-Meile, The White Separatist Movement in the United States: "White Power, White Pride!", The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000, pp. 1–3.
  96. Berger, J.M. (March 12, 2013). "The Hate List: Is America really being overrun by right-wing militants?". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 20 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  97. Hsu, Spencer S. (September 15, 2009). "Immigration, Health Debates Cross Paths". Washington Post. Retrieved 18 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  98. Federation for American Immigration Reform. Southern Poverty Law Center
  99. See:
  100. Jessica Prol Smith (August 17, 2019). "The Southern Poverty Law Center is a hate-based scam that nearly caused me to be murdered". USA Today. Retrieved August 19, 2019.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  101. Extremist Files: Family Research Council. Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016
  102. For commentary on the LGBT and FRC issues see:
  103. Wong, Curtis M. (February 9, 2015). "GOP Presidential Hopeful Ben Carson Named To Southern Poverty Law Center's Anti-Gay Extremist List". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  104. See:
    • "SPLC statement on Dr. Ben Carson". Southern Poverty Law Center. February 11, 2015. Archived from the original on February 12, 2015. Retrieved April 25, 2017. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • "Southern Poverty Law Center apologizes to Ben Carson, takes him off 'extremist' list". Fox News Channel. February 12, 2015. Retrieved February 13, 2015. In October 2014, we posted an 'Extremist File' of Dr. Ben Carson....This week, as we've come under intense criticism for doing so, we've reviewed our profile and have concluded that it did not meet our standards, so we have taken it down and apologize to Dr. Carson for having posted it.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  105. For the ‘anti-Muslim extremist’ controversy see:
  106. Charles Murray biography at SPLC
  107. For criticisms, see:
  108. See:
  109. Anthony Man (24 August 2017). "Fort Lauderdale's D. James Kennedy Ministries sues over being labeled 'hate group'". Sun Sentinel.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  110. Adam darby Man (27 August 2017). "Christian ministry labeled as a hate group is suing SPLC to 'right a terrible wrong'". Kansan City Star.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  111. Southern Poverty Law Center ‘hate group’ label hit in evangelicals’ lawsuit by Elizabeth Llorente, Fox News, August 24, 2017
  112. A Dozen Major Groups Help Drive the Religious Right's Anti-Gay Crusade. Southern Poverty Law Center, 2005.
  114. "Endowment Supports Center's Future Work". Southern Poverty Law Center. June 2003. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved September 18, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  115. For the Advertiser articles, commentary, and SPLC response, see:
  116. "Finalist: Staff of Montgomery (AL) Advertiser – For its probe of questionable management practices and self-interest at the Southern Poverty Law Center, the nation's best-endowed civil rights charity". The Pulitzer Prizes. 1995. Retrieved April 5, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  117. For charity evaluations see:
    • "Charity Navigator Rating". Retrieved March 28, 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • "GuideStar Rating". Retrieved 20 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
    • "CharityWatch".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  118. "Financial Statements" (PDF). Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. October 31, 2016. Retrieved 4 April 2017.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Further reading

External links