House and Senate Democrats endorsed the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) “Year in Hate” report that brands mainstream conservative and Christian nonprofits “hate groups” and plots them on a map with the Ku Klux Klan. The Democrats did not respond to longstanding criticisms of the SPLC regarding its racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal or the fact that former SPLC employees have described the “hate” accusations as a “highly profitable scam.”
“After a tumultuous 2020, and the January 6 attack on our nation’s Capitol, we seek to enter an era of unity and repair in our country,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) began in her statement. “Now, more than ever before, the work done by the Southern Poverty Law Center to document hate and their insights contained in their annual ‘Year in Hate’ report should be brought front and center to inform our policy and our priorities.”
“It is time we extinguish all bigoted beliefs, address the urgent threat that extremism and hate groups pose on marginalized communities, and end actions motivated by hate. I hope you will join me in supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center and their commitment to making a safer and more inclusive nation,” DeLauro concluded (emphasis added).
If DeLauro seriously aimed to promote unity, she would avoid the SPLC’s annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report like the plague. The 2020 report — released in February 2021 — calls on Congress to censure or expel all 147 Republican congressmen and senators who contested the 2020 election and urges Big Tech to deplatform every “public figure” who questioned the election results.
DeLauro may have let the cat out of the bag when she suggested Americans should “extinguish all bigoted beliefs.” The SPLC’s list exaggerates the number of “hate groups” by listing defunct or essentially non-existent groups along with the KKK — leading former employees to describe it as a “scam” — but it also tars the reputations of law-abiding mainstream conservative and Christian organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), and ACT for America.
The SPLC accuses conservative Christian organizations that advocate for religious freedom of being “anti-LGBT hate groups,” while it brands national security nonprofits “anti-Muslim hate groups” or “anti-immigrant hate groups.” Some of the organizations on the “hate group” list are indeed noxious, and some — like the Ku Klux Klan — truly do belong on such a list because they advocate for racist and bigoted violence. Yet it seems the main qualification to land on the SPLC’s list is disagreement with the far-Left organization’s narrative.
In fact, the SPLC branded the Ruth Institute — a small Catholic nonprofit dedicated to helping the victims of the Sexual Revolution — a “hate group” because the Ruth Institute cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.
In 2012, a deranged man targeted FRC for a mass shooting, aiming to kill everyone in the building and place a Chick-fil-A sandwich by his victims’ heads. He told the FBI he targeted FRC because of the SPLC list. The SPLC has paid millions to settle defamation lawsuits, particularly one involving a Muslim reformer the SPLC branded an “anti-Islamic extremist.”
Yet the SPLC’s exaggerations of hate have made the leftist group extremely profitable. The SPLC has an endowment of half a billion dollars — yes, half a billion, with a B — and accounts in the Cayman Islands. To make matters worse, the SPLC fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, amid a decades-long sexual harassment and racial discrimination scandal that broke wide open in 2019.
I wrote a book, Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, explaining why this smear factory is not to be trusted — especially on the “hate group” accusations.
Yet the Democrats praised the SPLC report to the heavens.
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), a member of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Squad,” vowed that “the data in this new report will guide and inform our policymaking, and it will prove invaluable as we work to address and root out the scourge of white supremacy and hate in our nation, because that which gets measured, gets done.”
Rep. Veronica Escobar (D-Texas) began her statement by calling the U.S.-Mexico border “safe and secure.” She praised the SPLC report, saying it “has never been more important.”
“As our nation heals from the evil incited by hate, we must recognize the urgent threat extremism and hate groups pose to marginalized communities and we’ve got to work together to disarm hate and confront xenophobia with bold policy and legislation,” Escobar added.
Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) said the SPLC report highlights “the true scope of the problem” behind the “white supremacist insurrection at the nation’s capitol.”
Speaking of the January 6 Capitol riot, Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) argued that “Congress must defeat the right-wing extremism and hatred that fueled this assault on our democracy. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s year in hate and extremism report gives us the context we need to act.”
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) praised the SPLC for exposing “where hate and extremism find their organizational homes” and claimed the SPLC report “helps us respond to the dynamics of the threat to our democracy.”
Two prominent senators also praised the SPLC report.
“When a riotous mob stormed our nation’s capitol on January 6, Americans were forced to contend with a harsh truth, hate is alive and well in some parts of our nation. Though the days of flagrant cross burnings and Klan rallies may be behind us, bigotry and racism are not. To excise these evils from America once and for all, we must recognize and understand how they take shape today. That is exactly what the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘Year in Hate’ report really forces us to do, to track and monitor active hate groups, whether they’re plotting insurrections, vandalizing places of worship, or committing other acts of extremism,” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said.
“As the new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I pledge to you that my new priority is bringing the full force of our justice system against hate,” Durbin declared. “We will prove that hate no longer has a home in America.”
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) praised the SPLC for “decades of work defending civil rights and promoting peace and tolerance in the United States. Our human flourishing, our security, our health, and our freedom require us to overcome racism and recommit to focusing on our shared humanity.”
PJ Media reached out to each of these members of Congress to see how they would respond to the SPLC’s racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal, to the former employees who claimed the SPLC’s “hate” monitoring is a “highly profitable scam,” and to liberal commentators who dispute the SPLC’s “hate group” smears against Christian groups like ADF.
Former ACLU President Nadine Strossen disputed the SPLC’s accusation against ADF. “I consider ADF to be a valuable ally on important issues of common concern, and a worthy adversary (not an ‘enemy’) on important issues of disagreement; what I do not consider it to be, considering the full scope of its work, is a ‘hate group,'” Strossen wrote.
Mikey Weinstein, founder and president of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) also disputed the SPLC accusation.
“In my long years of fighting for what’s Constitutionally right, I’ve come to personally know several senior ADF lawyers extremely well. Their religiously-based legal positions, I and MRFF TOTALLY reject. However, their integrity, compassion, character, empathy, honor, and concern for their fellow humans I will steadfastly affirm. I have seen it and I have lived it,” he wrote. “As seemingly incomprehensible as it may seem, sometimes hell actually DOES freeze over. I consider them dear friends and I assure you that I don’t use that term lightly.”
Each of these Democrats has endorsed a far-Left smear factory with a racial-discrimination and a sexual-harassment scandal that promotes a hate-for-pay scam and smears mainstream conservative and Christian organizations — and continues to do so after an attempted terrorist attack against one of them.
These Democrats should be ashamed of themselves. Constituents should reach out with the same questions PJ Media posed to these unscrupulous legislators:
Why did Jon Ossoff endorse the SPLC’s “hate group” report? How does he respond to these criticisms? Does it concern Ossoff that the SPLC had a sexual harassment and racial discrimination scandal in 2019? What evidence has he seen that the SPLC has put this troubling history behind it? Does it concern Ossoff that former employees have said the SPLC’s “hate group” report is a scam? Does it concern him that the SPLC appears to vilify organizations based on their beliefs?
These Democrats must wear theirs support for the SPLC around their necks like an albatross in the next election.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.