Southern Poverty Law Center's Money Making 'Hate Group' Label
It seems that a lot of people are taking issue with the SPLC's broad-brush splattering of individuals and organizations with the defamatory "hate group" label. The article Southern Poverty Law Center's Lucrative 'Hate Group' Label in American Thinker (August 20, 2012) does a bang-up job of exposing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in this area. Not that any of this is breaking news - here is an expose on the Southern Poverty Law Center - Follow the Money. In fact, an entire Social Contract issue was devoted to exposing the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).
The article states:
It should be noted that the not-for-profit SPLC ostensibly began its mission to help those who had been victimized by civil rights violations by filing suits on their behalf. In recent years, the SPLC greatly expanded its definition of civil rights and hate groups to the point where any organization that opposes the left's favored causes risks being labeled a hate group by the SPLC. It has also moved away from suing on behalf of the aggrieved to raising awareness of the presence of "hate groups." Most of all, for the last 35 years, it has become a real fundraising dynamo.
The labeling of opposing political views as hate by the SPLC has become so egregious...
A growing consensus on the political right is to consider being labeled a hate group by the SPLC a badge of honor. I agree that it is, but I take issue with others about what is to be done. When I look at the entire history of the SPLC, I don't think the recent trend of inflate the hate is as much about political correctness run completely amok in the age of Obama as it is about the greed and self-aggrandizement of the founder of the SPLC and the gullibility of the donor base.
The article goes on to explain how lawyer SPLC founder Morris Dees began his career as a direct marketer, selling tractor seat cushions and cookbooks. By the time the SPLC became interested in the civil rights movement in 1971, many of the biggest battles had already had been won. The article notes that:
By the mid-60s, Morris was rich. He also became deeply interested in the money side of leftist politics... The Southern-born Dees knew that many of the northern liberals on McGovern's donor list would get a vicarious thrill from sending a check to the Alabama-based SPLC to fight the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists... If appealing to some of these rather naive donors meant tarring other Southerners as racist, bigoted hicks, so be it...
With net assets of $238 million as of the close of its last fiscal year, the SPLC is among the wealthiest of civil rights and advocacy organizations... Yet it spends almost 19% of its annual budget on fundraising each year despite the fact its net assets are already an extremely healthy seven times annual expenses.
Last year, the SPLC generated a surplus of $4.1 million on revenues of $38.7 million. CEO J. Richard Cohen makes $299K/year, and editor in chief of the SPLC Intelligence Report and Hatewatch blog Mark Potok makes $150K/year. Chief Trial Counsel Morris Dees, age 74, makes $305K/year.
But the Klan was virtually dead by the late 1980s; there were no remaining white supremacist organizations of any substance to raise money against. The revenue stream had to be preserved at any cost. Since existing hate groups had been effectively vanquished, the obvious solution would be to invent new hate groups upon which to fundraise.
The article observes that:
As the SPLC publicizes the names of ever more hate groups to "raise awareness" of intolerance and to tap into ever new sources of funds, its donors should keep in mind a genuine larger truth. Heightened awareness has never by itself helped the actual victims of anything, anywhere, at any time. At best, it is entirely self-referential. At its worst, it serves as a useful ploy to make a donor who hasn't done much in the way of due diligence about an organization's finances feel good about sending money to what appears to be a righteous cause.
Hate. Never before in history has a single word been used so callously - albeit effectively - as a fundraising tool.