Why the Government Should Sever Its Ties with the SPLC

By Social Contract Editors
Volume 28, Number 3 (Spring 2018)
Issue theme: "The SPLC File - An Exclusive Report on the Southern Poverty Law Center"

On April 7, 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an “unclassified” 9-page report that warned of the “potential emergence” of violent acts from “right-wing extremists” and the possible recruitment of “Disgruntled Military Veterans” for combat “skills” and “training” to carry out acts of domestic terrorism. On April  15,  2009,  one  week  after  the  report’s  release,  DHS Secretary  Janet  Napolitano  issued  an  apology  to  veterans’ groups for identifying returning veterans as prospective terrorist recruits.

On April 16, 2009, SPLC Founder Morris Dees sent out a fundraising e-mail attempting to cash in on the  DHS  “warning,” claiming  that  the  report  said  “‘white supremacist lone wolves’ and ‘small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology’ are currently the most significant  domestic  terrorism  threat.”  In  fact,  the  report made no such claim. It states, contrary to Dees’s assertion, that “the DHS/Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence.... Threats from white supremacist and violent antigovernment groups during 2009 have been largely rhetorical and have not indicated plans to carry out violent acts.”

The SPLC’s sleazy, dishonest  fundraising  appeals  have  generated  “large  assets”  and low ratings from the American Institute of Philanthropy, as well as critical scrutiny from liberal humanitarians such as Ken Silverstein, the former Washington editor of Harper’s.