“Hate Crimes” Peddling at the Southern Poverty Law Center

The race-baiting and exploitation on the part of the slimy lawyers at the Southern Poverty Law Center, rivals that of the NAACP. They make a living from manufacturing (white) “hate groups”, extorting money from organizations and people with lawsuits, and peddling “hate crimes” as a profit-making enterprise.

A background on Morris Dees, the SPLC’s prominent lawyer:

In 1975 Dees was arrested and removed from court for attempting to suborn perjury (by means of a bribe) on behalf of the defendant in a North Carolina murder trial. Though the felony charge against Dees was subsequently dropped, the presiding judge refused to re-admit him to the case; that refusal was upheld on appeal.

……Dees is known to be the architect of one of SPLC’s most effective—and most controversial—tactics: exaggerating the prevalence and capabilities of racist and extremist rightwing groups operating in the United States in order to frighten supporters into donating money to SPLC.

Many critics charge that this fundraising revenue, instead of bankrolling SPLC’s civil rights work, is funneled disproportionately into the coffers of SPLC officers like Dees. Several studies conducted in the 1990s indicated that the Dees and other top SPLC figures earned significantly higher salaries than the leaders of most non-profit organizations.

Because SPLC perennially disburses twice as much on fundraising as it does on legal services (while skimming off substantial amounts of revenue for its own endowment), Dees’ income has provoked accusations of fraud. Stephen Bright, a director of the Southern Center for Human Rights, a leftwing Atlanta-based group that opposes the death penalty, put it bluntly in a 1996 letter to Dees, in which he denounced the latter as a “a fraud and a conman,” and upbraided Dees because “you spend so much, accomplish so little, and promote yourself shamelessly.”

Similarly, leftwing journalist Alexander Cockburn accused Dees of raising funds “by frightening elderly liberals that the heirs of Adolf Hitler are about to march down Main Street.”

The accusations against Dees have also come from some of the people closest to him. As Dees’ onetime business partner Millard Fuller once said: “Morris and I … shared the overriding purpose of making a pile of money. We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich.”

In 1986, SPLC’s entire legal staff quit in an act of defiance against Dees for his pursuit of lucrative, high-profile cases against the KKK, in preference to working to secure civil liberties for the poor. Speaking to reporters, SPLC attorney Gloria Browne candidly admitted that the Center’s programs were devised to cash in on “black pain and white guilt.”

More: http://www.jrbooksonline.com/PDF_Books/MorrisDeesFactSheet.pdf

The SPLC “Poverty Palace” Headquarters has over $170,240,129 in net assets. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4482

More about the modus operandi of the SPLC:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has one key message: The nation is boiling over with hatred and intolerance. Decades after the civil rights movement forever changed America and despite the enactment of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the imposition of affirmative action, American race relations are always worse today than in the days of Jim Crow, according to SPLC.

“Hate in America is a dreadful, daily constant. The dragging death of a black man in Jasper, Tex.; the crucifixion of a gay man in Laramie, Wyo.; and post-9/11 hate crimes against hundreds of Arab-Americans, Muslim Americans and Sikhs are not ‘isolated incidents.’ They are eruptions of a nation’s intolerance.” That’s the message posted at Tolerance.org, a center website for its special project, “Ten Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response Guide.”

“Somewhere in America … EVERY HOUR someone commits a hate crime. EVERY DAY at least eight blacks, four gays or lesbians, two Jews, two whites and one Latino become hate crimes victims. EVERY WEEK a cross is burned,” according to the guide [emphasis in original]. If the center’s math is correct, 8,760 “hate crimes” are committed in the U.S. every year and 52 crosses are burned. But that’s not exactly a tidal wave of bigotry in an ethnically diverse nation of 300 million people.

The SPLC understands the importance of language. It fights what it labels “hate,” “intolerance” and “discrimination,” but it defines those terms very differently than most Americans would. To the center, you practice “hate” whenever you fail to genuflect with politically correct reverence before every human difference.

In the SPLC’s world, armies of the night are forever on the march. Cross-burnings, lynchings and rampant racial discrimination are omnipresent. Those who question the SPLC’s approach to race are blacklisted as contemptible bigots.

The center lumps all sorts of groups on America’s political right together, labeling them enemies of the Republic. Conservative, libertarian, anti-tax, immigration reductionist and other groups are all viewed as legitimate targets for vilification.

SPLC has an enormous endowment of more than $152 million, according to its 2005 annual report. Its IRS Form 990 for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2005, shows that the center took in gross receipts of $49.8 million that year, $29.7 million of which consisted of contributions and grants.

According to its balance sheet, by Oct. 31, 2005, its total assets had ballooned from $173.2 million at the beginning of the fiscal year, to $189.4 million by year’s end. SPLC’s endowment is so large that it reported endowment income of nearly $3.5 million, including interest income of $728,356.

Although SPLC bills itself as a civil rights law firm, it devotes only a fraction of its resources to actual legal work. Of the $28.9 million in expenses it declared for the year ended Oct. 31, 2005, only $4.5 million went to “providing legal services for victims of civil rights injustice and hate crimes,” and $837,907 for “specific assistance to individuals” in the form of “litigation services,” according to its Form 990. Roughly half of its expenditures, $14.7 million, were devoted to “educating the general public, public officials, teachers, students and law enforcement agencies and officers with respect to issues of hate and intolerance and promoting tolerance of differences through the schools.”

In the same period, SPLC paid attorney Morris Dees $297,559 in salary and pension-plan contributions. On the list of nonprofit “employees who earned more than their organization’s chief executive,” (part of the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s annual survey of top nonprofit executive salaries, published September 28), Dees ranked 48th in the nation. SPLC President Richard Cohen took home $274,838, but center co-founder Joseph L. Levin received only $171,904 for his efforts as general counsel.

SPLC is based in Montgomery, Ala., site of the famous bus boycott that gave birth to the civil rights movement and made a national icon of Rosa Parks, the woman who courageously refused to move to the back of the bus. The center’s fortress-style headquarters seems intended to shield employees from the hordes of neo-Nazis, skinheads and militia groups the center wants people to believe wish to do it harm.

The co-founders of SPLC were Julian Bond and Morris Dees.  (NOTE:  This is an error.  The co-founders of SPLC were Morris Dees and Joe Levin; Julian Bond was the first President of the organization.)  Bond is the founding president. Since 1998, he has been chairman of the NAACP but remains active with the center and currently serves on its board of directors. A highly visible public figure, he is well acquainted with its smear tactics, having compared conservatives and the Bush Administration to Afghanistan’s ousted Taliban regime.

Bond has smeared black conservatives with relish, deriding them for joining what he calls “a right-wing conspiracy” aimed at eliminating affirmative action, abridging voting rights and reforming public education. In 2002, he told an NAACP convention that black conservatives were participants in “an interlocking network of funders, groups and activists…. They are the money, the motivation and the movement behind vouchers, the legal assault on affirmative action and other remedies for discrimination, attempts to reapportion us out of office and attacks on equity everywhere.” These conservatives are “black hustlers and hucksters … [who], like ventriloquists’ dummies, speak in their puppet master’s voice,” he said. Bond called anti-racial quota campaigner Ward Connerly a “fraud” and a “con man.”

In February of this year, at Fayetteville State University in Arkansas, Bond warned that Republicans’ “idea of equal rights is the American flag and the Confederate swastika flying side by side,” the Fayetteville Observer reported. When his comments provoked a firestorm of criticism, Bond lied, denying he likened the GOP to the Nazi Party. He accused “right-wing blogs” of mischaracterizing his statement: “I didn’t say these things I’m alleged to have said. There is no one in the audience who can say I said them.” How wrong he was: The Observer posted a 45-minute recording of Bond’s speech online. In the same speech, Bond implied that Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were token black appointees in the Bush Administration, which was using them as “human shields against any criticism of their record on civil rights.”

……Dees is admired by left-wing and not-so-left-wing lawyers from coast to coast. A prestigious legal award has been named after him, and on November 16, the high-powered law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP & Affiliates and the University of Alabama School of Law awarded the first annual “Morris Dees Justice Award” to U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice of the Eastern District of Texas. The award will be given annually to “a lawyer who has devoted his or her career to serving the public interest and pursuing justice and whose work has brought about positive change in the community, state or nation.” One of the rulings for which Judge Justice is honored would puzzle many strict constructionist legal scholars and limited-government supporters. Justice’s ruling in a 1982 case, Plyler v. Doe, opened the doors for children of illegal aliens to attend public schools through grade 12 at public expense.

Dees is a consummate salesman and a champion fundraiser. “I learned everything I know about hustling from the Baptist Church. Spending Sundays sitting on those hard benches, listening to the preacher pitch salvation … why it was like getting a Ph.D. in selling,” he said. Dees was finance director for Democrat George McGovern’s failed 1972 presidential bid and for other Democratic candidates. He raised more than $24 million from 600,000 small donors, marking the first time a presidential campaign was financed with small gifts by mail, according to Dees’s official biography on SPLC’s website.

Years before co-founding the SPLC, Dees launched a successful direct-mail sales company specializing in book publishing. However, he experienced an epiphany in 1967 and decided to take his life in a new direction and “speak out for my black friends who were still ‘disenfranchised’ even after the Voting Rights Act of 1965,” Dees wrote in his autobiographical A Season for Justice. “Little had changed in the South. Whites held the power and had no intention of voluntarily sharing it.”

Dees’s former legal associate, Millard Farmer, describes the crusading lawyer as “the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of the civil rights movement,” adding, “though I don’t mean to malign Jim and Tammy Faye.” Former associates say Dees is obsessed with making money.

……The SPLC seems to have steered clear of scandal in recent years, but it received plenty of bad press in the mid-1990s. In 1994, the Montgomery Advertiser published a series of investigative articles alleging improprieties, including financial mismanagement and institutionalized racism. Black former employees of the center complained that white supervisors ran it “like a plantation.” The series was a nominated finalist for a Pulitzer Prize in 1995, but Dees orchestrated a lobbying campaign to stop publication and prevent it from being considered by the Pulitzer board.

Jim Tharpe, then managing editor of the Advertiser, described his SPLC-related adventures at a Nieman Foundation for Journalism panel discussion held at Harvard University in May 1999. According to Tharpe, SPLC deployed what is typically considered a corporate public relations weapon to prevent the investigation. It threatened what has come in recent years to be known as a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or SLAPP action. Such suits are calculated to intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense unless they withdraw their criticism.

……Tharpe’s team also uncovered what he called “questionable fundraising tactics.” The SPLC handled the case of Michael Donald, a young black man who was brutally murdered in Mobile by Klansmen in 1981. After the perpetrators were convicted, the center filed suit against the KKK organization to which they belonged and secured a $7-million judgment, Tharpe explained.

“The problem was the people who killed this kid didn’t have any money. What they really got out of it was a $51,000 building that went to the mother of Michael Donald. What the center got and what we reported was they raised $9 million in two years using the Donald case, including a mailing with the body of Michael Donald as part of it. The top center officials, I think the top three, got $350,000 in salaries during that time, and Morris got a movie out of it, a TV movie of the week.”


“Hate” as defined by the SPLC doesn’t include the New Black Panthers, La Raza, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, Louis Farrakhan, CAIR, Hizb ut-Tahrir, Jamaat ul Fuqra, or any one of a number of violent, radical, extremist, black, Hispanic, and muslim groups operating within the United States.

The SPLC is a criminal enterprise. It uses threats, intimidation, and extortion-based lawsuits as a money-making racket. Morris Dees, Mark Potok, Larry Keller and David Holthouse, are not averse to using smear tactics, taking advantage of victims’ families, leveling false accusations, and labeling black conservatives with pejorative racial terms.

The RICO Act fits them perfectly.

More Via The Dustin Inman Society


4 thoughts on ““Hate Crimes” Peddling at the Southern Poverty Law Center”

  1. Pingback: Southern Poverty Law Center re-launches anti-immigration law hotline - ALIPAC

  2. SFC Mac,

    I like your thoughts on the RICO act and I’ve often wondered why no group has tried suing the SPLC for libel. It wouldn’t be hard to prove, and it might shut them down once and for all.

    Take care,


  3. Excellent analysis of the SPLC, however, some of the information is dated or incomplete.

    In their most recent IRS Form 990, the SPLC reports that they now have $189 MILLION donor-dollars on hand. Two years ago they broke the $200 million dollar mark but took a $50 million dollar hit last year. It doesn’t seem to be taking them long to recoup.

    The piece on Julian Bond is inaccurate. The SPLC was founded in 1971 by Morris Dees and Joe Levin. Dees writes on page 132 of his autobiography, “A Season for Justice”, that before they could send out their first (of thousands) fund-raising letter, they needed a “name” the donors would recognize. In other words, a paid celebrity endorsement.

    “Before we could ask for money, we had to establish credibility. We needed a prominent figure whose presence would announce the Center’s values and promise. Julian Bond seemed the perfect choice.”

    Bond had never heard of Dees before, but Dees called him and offered Bond what Dees called “the largely honorary presidency” of the SPLC.

    Dees doesn’t mention any money changing hands, but it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to assume that Bond did not give the use of his name to an unknown White lawyer from Montgomery, with no civil rights background to speak of, for nothing.

    Bond gets just over two paragraphs in Dees’ 300 page memoir and is heard from no more. One can imagine the deep impact this “co-founder” had on SPLC policies. Bond was hired as a publicity stunt. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-p

    On page 80 of his autobiography, Dees writes that in 1957 he ran for the Alabama State Assembly on the “States’ Rights Democrat” platform. The States’ Righters were a “segregation forever” party endorsed by Strom Thurmond’s Dixiecrats.

    In 1958, Dees becomes the Youth Coordinator for George Wallace’s first gubernatorial campaign. Apparently, Dees thought it was important to get Wallace’s racist ideas out to children, even though they couldn’t vote.

    In 1962, Dees defends Montgomery Klansman Claude Henley in AG Robert Kennedy’s federal court. The previous year Henley led a mob of one hundred Klansman against a Greyhound bus carrying about a dozen black and white Freedom Riders.

    Even though LIFE magazine published pictures of Henley in mid-rampage, Dees was sympathetic to the cause and offered to take the job for only $500 dollars. (Dees jacked his fee up to $5,000 when he heard that another lawyer wanted $15 grand to take the case). http://wp.me/pCLYZ-F

    Henley walked out the courtroom scot-free, Dees, who was already a millionaire at the time, and didn’t need the money, cashed the dirty check and Henley’s victims got nothing, least of all justice.

    Dees’ law partner, Millard Fuller, (not to be confused with Millard Farmer), wrote in his autobiography that Henley’s lawyer fees were paid by the Montgomery Klan and the local White Citizens’ Council.

    Some “icon”.

    So it’s hardly surprising that NOT ONE of the SPLC’s top ten, highest paid executives is a minority, much less an immigrant. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-3r

    While the SPLC displays a “diverse” Board of Directors on its website, including Julian Bond, all of the Directors, with the exception of SPLC Co-founder Joe Levin, are unpaid advisers with no impact on SPLC policy or personnel. It’s nothing more than simple PR “brown-washing”. http://wp.me/pCLYZ-p

    The last “Whites only” sign in Montgomery hangs in the boardroom of the SPLC.

    Great post, let’s keep the truth about the SPLC out there where the people can see it.

    1. rkeefe57,

      The error concerning the SPLC founders was duly noted by a commenter at the site of the article. I’ve made the correction in parentheses.
      The SPLC is one of the biggest scams in this country. Morris Dees is the quinessential sleasy southern lawyer. Every time I see that piece of shit on T.V. I have to go take a shower.

      SFC MAC

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