In December 2018, a Baltimore lawyer filed a devastating lawsuit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and two of its employees. The SPLC targeted Glen Keith Allen over his former ties to the National Alliance (NA), a white nationalist group. In doing so, the liberal group allegedly violated laws and legal codes of conduct by receiving and then paying for stolen documents in violation of confidentiality agreements. The group went after Allen with the intent of getting him fired by the city of Baltimore and permanently destroying his future prospects.
Allen’s suit claims that the SPLC should have its 501c3 tax-exempt status revoked, that it owes him restitution for racketeering, and that it should pay $6.5 million in damages. It also references Allen’s pro bono work on behalf of African-Americans and his mentorship of an African-American teen, powerfully rebutting claims that he is a racist. Allen told PJ Media he now regrets his NA support, and an African-American friend of his laughed at the idea of this lawyer being branded a racist.
Perhaps most importantly, the suit attacks the liberal group for undermining America’s tradition of free expression. In an August 2016 interview with The Washington Post cited in the lawsuit, SPLC Intelligence Project Director Heidi Beirich (a defendant in the case) claimed to have watched Allen “like a hawk” because he had “the worst ideas ever created.”
“This East Europe Communist thought-crime surveillance mentality is antithetical to fundamental American cultural and Constitutional principles protecting freedom of expression and association,” Allen wrote in the suit, which can be found on his website. His lawsuit uses concrete claims of lawbreaking and defamation to expose the SPLC’s Orwellian strategy of branding its opponents “hate groups” and orchestrating campaigns against them.
In August 2016, the SPLC published an article branding Allen a “neo-Nazi lawyer” and insinuating that this lawyer’s work for the city of Baltimore was racist. Beirich, the article’s author, smeared a small political party as racist and then published allegedly stolen documents protected by confidentiality agreements connecting Allen to the National Alliance.
Allen, a longtime litigator at the Of Counsel rank (between senior associate and partner) at the international law firm DLA Piper, had left the firm in February 2016 to work for the Baltimore city solicitor, taking a pay cut for the opportunity to become chief city solicitor in charge of appeals in about a year. As part of his job, he filed one specific motion to help the city in a lawsuit filed by a black man who was wrongly accused of murder. Beirich painted this work as malicious to African-Americans.
This article led Baltimore’s law department to fire Allen immediately, costing him at least 10 years of employment at a salary of $90,000 or more. The article also destroyed his reputation, making it extremely difficult for him to obtain a job, create a good relationship with clients, or argue before judges and jurors who would immediately judge him a “neo-Nazi lawyer.” Furthermore, a year after Allen’s firing, Baltimore badly lost the case, losing $15 million in damages.
Beirich’s article claimed that Allen was a “well-known neo-Nazi,” but cited one obscure comment thread as the only public connection between the lawyer and the NA. Beirich also slammed the American Eagle Party as racist, which the lawsuit denounces as a “fraudulent characterization.”
The SPLC could not keep its story straight. In Beirich’s article, Allen is a “well-known neo-Nazi,” but on the 2016 Hate Map, the SPLC and its Intelligence Project featured a photo of Allen with this caption: “When the City of Baltimore recently hired Glen Keith Allen, a neo-Nazi, nobody knew of his involvement with white supremacist groups, except for us. Because of our investigation and exposé, he was swiftly fired” (emphasis added).
In order to brand this lawyer a “neo-Nazi,” Beirich publicized documents the SPLC allegedly obtained illegally.
The National Alliance spreads anti-Semitism and advocates for white identity politics. Americans will rightly view its ideas as disgusting, and its founder wrote a book that may have inspired Timothy McVeigh in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing (the author, now dead, disputed this connection). Even so, the rights of free association extend to all Americans, even those who wish to affiliate with such groups. The law should protect NA’s property and enforce its contracts.
Will Williams took over as NA’s third chairman in October 2014. He knew the organization was in financial and organizational disarray and hired accountant Randolph Dilloway to help restore the organization. Williams had Dilloway sign confidentiality agreements as a condition of his employment.
According to the lawsuit, Williams went to confront Dilloway for his shoddy work on May 3, 2015. Both men called the police, and Dilloway fled with a laptop and thumb drives with allegedly stolen documents. On May 20, the SPLC published an article called “Chaos at the Compound,” revealing documents Beirich admitted to receiving from Dilloway on May 6, three days after the confrontation. She later used these documents in the article destroying Allen’s reputation.
On Wednesday, Williams confirmed Allen’s story to PJ Media. “I drew up an eight-page employment agreement with Dilloway, trying to be professional, and I think three of those pages were about non-disclosure,” he said. “Dilloway admitted on our forum that he was compensated, that he got consideration — money in kind.”
“He’s a paid informant of the SPLC,” Williams said.
According to the lawsuit, the SPLC’s receipt of stolen documents and the payment for them violated not only the law but also the canons of legal ethics in Alabama, where both Beirich and the other defendant, Mark Potok, are registered as lawyers. The SPLC is a 501c3 public interest law firm, so its involvement in this activity disqualifies its tax-exempt status.
The SPLC should also lose its tax-exempt status for mail and wire fraud, false statements on its tax forms, and campaigns of destruction and defamation against its perceived enemies, the lawsuit claims.
Allen notes that the SPLC and the Intelligence Project publish “hate maps” and “hate groups,” artificially inflating the tallies by listing multiple chapters of an organization as separate “hate groups,” and by using a malleable definition of “hate group” in order to “completely destroy these groups.”
The SPLC defines “hate group” expansively, listing mainstream conservative and Christian groups like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and the Family Research Council (FRC) along with the Ku Klux Klan. Yet it constantly emphasizes the link between “hate groups” and violence. On the top of its 2016 “hate map,” it states, “Hate and antigovernment extremist groups continue to operate at alarming levels in the U.S. — fomenting racist violence, seeking to poison our democracy, and, in some instances, plotting domestic terrorist attacks.”
“It is, accordingly, false — and outrageous — for the SPLC to smear as ‘hate groups’ conservative Christian groups that on no fair and objective interpretation could so properly be stigmatized,” Allen writes in the lawsuit.
He references falsely attacked groups like the Ruth Institute, D. James Kennedy Ministries, and Maajid Nawaz. The SPLC paid $3.375 million to settle a defamation lawsuit involving Nawaz, a Muslim reformer the SPLC branded an “anti-Islamic extremist.” This settlement encouraged about 60 organizations to consider separate defamation lawsuits.
Allen also argues that the SPLC violated the IRS’s requirement that 501c3 tax-exempt organizations refrain from participating in “any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office.” Between October 2015 and November 2016, the smear group slammed Republican (and only Republican) candidates for president. Yet in its 2017 Form 990, the SPLC claimed under penalties of perjury that it did not engage in political campaign activities.
For these and other reasons, the SPLC should lose its tax-exempt status, the suit claims. Allen’s suit also demands $1.5 million from the group under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. The SPLC and its Intelligence Project allegedly collaborated to engage in illegal activity affecting interstate commerce and damaging Allen specifically.
Allen also claims that the SPLC, Beirich, and Potok caused intentional harm to his career and profited from his loss, defamed him, and aided and abetted Dilloway’s breach of contract. In yet another count against the defendants, the lawsuit claims the SPLC negligently trained and supervised Beirich and Potok. In addition to the compensatory damages of $1.5 million, the suit demands punitive damages of $5 million.
The lawsuit includes no fewer than nine counts against the defendants, so even if one or more fail, it would be very difficult for the SPLC to convince the court to dismiss the case.
When reached by this author, Glen Allen did not deny the SPLC’s charges that he paid for NA literature and was a dues-paying member of the National Alliance. He firmly disavowed the group, however, and directed PJ Media to a longtime African-American friend of his who laughed at the idea that Allen could be considered a racist.
“My affiliation with the National Alliance was a mistake, one of the greatest of my life,” Allen told PJ Media. “I would like to believe we live in a society where people can learn from their mistakes and move on.”
“My present outlook, which I have held for many years, is a mixture of Ron Paul Libertarianism, First Amendment advocacy and civil debate, and a strong opposition to the violent behavior we’ve seen carried out on the left for several years,” he added. “I also support a mutually respectful pride and dignity for people of all heritages, including white people.”
While he firmly disavowed the National Alliance, Allen also defended the group’s legal rights. “I do believe the NA, consistently with our American traditions of free expression, freedom of association, and the rule of law, is entitled to legal representation, like other unpopular groups, and should be encouraged to seek it,” he said.
As for racism charges, Allen did pro bono work for Arthur Lloyd, an incarcerated African-American law officer who had shot and killed a white Navy seaman. He also wrote a brief against overturning the decision Unger v. State, which would have had dire implications for hundreds of African-Americans sentenced to life in prison in prior decades. He actively fought to help African-Americans victimized by race discrimination.
As for charges of anti-Semitism, Allen told PJ Media he also volunteered for a pro bono project to help Holocaust victims obtain compensation. Unfortunately, too many lawyers volunteered, so he could not work on the case.
He also mentored D’Andre Johnson, an African-American teen. Remus Medley, an African-American track coach in Baltimore, vouched for Allen’s mentorship of Johnson and laughed at the idea that Allen, his friend for 18 years, could be considered a racist.
“They’ve been a wonderful family, that’s all I know about him. He has never told me ‘No,’ always been supportive, in 18 years of knowing him,” Medley told PJ Media. “There’s nothing that I can say bad about him.”
Medley recalled giving track lessons to Allen, his son, and his daughter. He also said the lawyer introduced Medley’s adopted son to representatives for different colleges. Allen has invited his family over for dinner and has given them Christmas presents. The lawyer also runs with the heavily black Baltimore city track team.
“Racist, to be that way you’ve got to have hate and anger. He couldn’t even qualify for that,” Medley told PJ Media. “A racist wouldn’t let me around his house, with his kids, give me hugs. You can’t hide racism.”
“Mr. Allen the racist? That’s a joke,” he said, laughing. “This guy does not have one drop of racism, he’s not racist at all.”
This lawsuit is serious, and the SPLC cannot just brush it off as the ravings of some racist bigot with a grudge. Allen was a top litigator at one of the largest law firms in the world. His claims are strong and comprehensive.
The SPLC’s “hate map” has inspired at least one terrorist attack, and the far-Left smear group has constituently pressured Big Tech companies to censor conservative speech in the name of banishing “hate” from the internet.
The SPLC did not respond to multiple requests for comment from PJ Media. Perhaps they will be more willing to speak after more outlets pick up this important story.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.