Apple, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Disney, Other Companies Funding SPLC Silent on Racism Scandal
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a once-respected civil rights organization, has been racked by a racism and sexual abuse scandal in recent weeks. It fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, President Richard Cohen stepped down, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson removed herself from the Board of Directors. The organization faces many defamation lawsuits regarding its "hate group" labels applied to mainstream conservative and Christian organizations.
PJ Media reached out to corporations that have partnered with and funded the SPLC, and most of them refused to comment on the scandal. They refused to defend the far-left smear factory's "hate group" labels and refused to say whether or not they would consider a group plagued with racism and sexism a reliable arbiter on what constitutes "hate."
After all, the SPLC's "hate group" labels inspired a terrorist attack in 2012 and have led credit card companies and tech companies to blacklist conservatives. Last year, it paid $3.375 million to settle a defamation lawsuit — after calling a Muslim reformer an "anti-Muslim extremist." The fact that this "hate group" watchdog has a racism and sexism scandal further underscores its horrible reputation.
Here is a list of the companies involved, and any response they gave to PJ Media. The companies with the greatest connection to the SPLC are at the bottom.
"The Kraft Heinz Company has never supported SPLC," Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate affairs at the company, told PJ Media. "The legacy Kraft company provided a low level of support to SPLC back in 2015 (before the merger of Kraft and Heinz) via an employee matching gift program."
Kraft Heinz may not deserve to be on this list, and I ranked them last for that reason.
16. Charles Schwab
"Schwab Charitable does not partner with the Southern Poverty Law Center," a company spokesperson told PJ Media.
"We follow a strict review and approval process for all grant recommendations in order to ensure that:
- Grant dollars are used only for qualified charitable purposes and go to an organization whose mission is entirely charitable,
- the recipient charity is not being investigated for illegal activity, and
- the grant complies with IRS deductibility rules and protects the philanthropic intentions of the Schwab Charitable account holders.
"If we discover that grants have been made for improper purposes, we may take remedial action, such as seeking a return of the grant from the recipient charity or terminating the account holder’s advisory privileges," the spokesperson added. Schwab Charitable said it relies on the IRS's designation for 501c3 tax-exempt status.
On a side note, Baltimore lawyer Glen Keith Allen has sued the SPLC, alleging among other things that its political attacks on conservatives disqualify it for 501c3 tax-exempt status. The SPLC is taking this lawsuit seriously, hiring a high-powered lawyer for its defense.
"If an organization is ineligible for any reason or under active investigation by either the IRS, state regulators or law enforcement, we will suspend any grant recommendations until the investigation is concluded and the organization retains its 501c3 charitable status," the Schwab Charitable spokesperson concluded.
Many companies will match employee contributions to organizations, and they often do merely follow the IRS's 501c3 standard for which nonprofits are included. However, companies arguably should exclude the SPLC for its scandalous history on race and sex and its heinous attacks on conservative and Christian organizations.
Progressive Insurance did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment regarding the SPLC's scandal.
14. Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual has given the SPLC at least $1,213.27 by matching employee contributions: $396 in 2013, $430.27 in 2014, and $387 in 2015. Liberty Mutual did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC's racism and sexism scandal.
13. Freddie Mac
Freddie Mac has given at least $1,300 to the SPLC through an employee matching gift program: $150 in 2012, $250 in 2013, and $900 in 2014. Freddie Mac did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandal.
12. Abbott Laboratories
Abbott Laboratories denied funding the SPLC, but according to the Form 990s that it filed with the IRS, its charitable arm has matched employee contributions to the SPLC to the tune of $2,125.5: $175.50 in 2013, $975 in 2014, and $975 in 2015.
"Abbott is not a funder of SPLC," Elissa Maurer, senior manager of external communications, told PJ Media. "This is one of thousands of non-profit organizations that our employees support with individual donations through an employee-directed giving campaign."
She did not explain why the Form 990s seem to contradict her statement.
Royal Dutch Shell company, better known as just Shell, gave the SPLC at least $2,430: $300 in 2013, $1,930 in 2014, and $200 in 2015. Shell did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC's scandals.
10. Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank has contributed at least $2,600 to the SPLC through matching employee contributions: $825 to 2012, $1,025 in 2013, and $750 in 2015. Deutsche Bank did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandal.
The Walt Disney Company Foundation has given at least $2,700 to the SPLC: $460 in 2014 and $2,240 in 2015. The Walt Disney Company did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment about the SPLC scandals.
Verizon Communications has given the SPLC at least $3,235 by matching employee contributions: $1,090 in 2013, $810 in 2014, and $1,335 in 2015. Verizon did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandal.
Pfizer has given at least $8,919.5 to the SPLC by matching employee contributions: $4,371 in 2013 and $4,548.5 in 2015. Pfizer did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment regarding the SPLC scandal.
6. Bank of America
Bank of America has given the SPLC at least $9,310 by matching employee contributions: $2,995 in 2013, $2,175 in 2014, and $4,140 in 2015. Bank of America did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandal.
5. Newman's Own
Newman's Own has given the most in matching employee contributions to the SPLC, at $50,000: $15,000 in 2013, $15,000 in 2014, and $20,000 in 2015. Newman's Own did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandal.
4. MGM Resorts
In 2017, MGM Resorts publicly announced it would partner with the SPLC in the name of fighting "hate," matching employee contributions to the far-left smear group. MGM Resorts did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandals.
Also in 2017, Lyft announced it would partner with the SPLC to protect drivers from white supremacists.
2. J.P. Morgan
In 2017, JP Morgan Chase announced it would give $500,000 to the SPLC in order to "confront hate, intolerance, and discrimination." The company has also matched employee contributions: $1,546 in 2013, $875 in 2014, and $210 in 2015.
JP Morgan Chase did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandals.
In 2017, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his company would give $1 million to the SPLC and that it would set up a system in iTunes software to let consumers directly donate to the organization.
Apple did not respond to PJ Media's request for comment on the SPLC scandals.
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.