Conservative Non-Profits Respond to ‘World’s Largest’ Online Charity Listing Dropping Discredited SPLC ‘Hate’ Designations

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www.guidestar.org / Screenshot

Conservative non-profits labeled “hate groups” by the left-wing advocacy outfit the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), responded this week to Guidestar USA’s decision to stop using the designation.

Guidestar, which purports to be the largest database of charities, made the decision last week to stop using the list of “hate groups” published by the SPLC in their online listings. Previously, Guidestar had prominently placed the hate group designation on charities that the SPLC had deemed to deserve the label. The move came in response to a letter addressed to Guidestar by the leadership of many prominent American conservative organizations, some of whom had been given the once-powerful hate designation.

The letter posited that:

The SPLC has no bona fides to make such determinations. It is not a governmental organization using a rigorous criteria to create its lists, and it is not a scientifically oriented organization … The “hate group” list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.

The letter also quoted SPLC Director Mark Potok’s 2007 statement, uncovered by the charity watchdog Philanthropy Roundtable that, “Sometimes the press will describe us as monitoring hate crimes and so on…. I want to say plainly that our aim in life is to destroy these groups, to completely destroy them.”
The Family Research Council, a Christian think-tank based in Colorado, is one group that has roused the SPLC’s ire with its advocacy against same-sex marriage and defense of traditional family roles and was a signatory of the letter to Guidestar. The SPLC has labeled it a hate group for years.

In 2012, that decision led directly to a nearly averted tragedy when a deranged man named Floyd Lee Corkins used the SPLC’s so-called “Hate Map” to find the FRC’s offices in Washington, DC. Corkins marched into the building with a firearm and over 100 rounds of ammunition in an attempt to murder as many of the “anti-gay” employees inside as he could.

Thankfully, Corkins only managed to shoot one man, building manager Leo Johnson, who heroically subdued the domestic terrorist despite his gunshot wound and prevented him from carrying on the attack. Corkins later admitted not only to using the SPLC’s map, but to planning to smear Chic-Fil-A sandwiches on his victims’ faces in a twisted ode to the fact that the company’s family owners are also supportive of traditional definitions of marriage. Corkins is now serving 25 years in federal prison.

The FRC’s leadership applauded Guidestar’s decision to stop placing “SPLC Hate Group” banners over it and other charities’ listings. In a statement released Monday as the banners were formally removed, FRC Executive Vice President Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin said:

GuideStar correctly decided to end its reliance on the SPLC, a decision that is in line with organizations like the FBI and the U.S. Army under Secretary McHugh. We must add that FRC is greatly dismayed that GuideStar and its staff have received verbal attacks and threats since news broke that a number of mainstream conservative organizations had been tagged by GuideStar with the SPLC’s ‘hate’ label.

Another group now freed from the burden of the hate banner on Guidestar’s site, the anti-mass immigration public interest law firm Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), released their own celebratory press release at the news, making reference to IRLI’s attempts to have the SPLC’s tax exempt status revoked over it repeated and inflammatory statements aimed against President Donald Trump during the 2016 election cycle:

When the SPLC tarred IRLI as a “hate group” recently, it similarly refused to engage with or debate the organization on immigration policy or any other issue.

IRLI, a respected legal advocate with a 31-year old history, was added this year to the SPLC’s “hate” list after IRLI made known its intention to file a complaint with the IRS alleging the group violated its tax-exempt status by engaging in unlawful electioneering activity this past election cycle.

IRLI’s parent organization, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), also labeled a hate group, once sought to file an amicus brief in a case which the SPLC and an associated open-borders pro bono law firm, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NIRP), were involved.

The SPLC’s attempt to have FAIR’s brief thrown out of court earned it a stern reprimand from the Obama-era DOJ’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR) last March. The EOIR’s Disciplinary Counsel wrote that the decision by lawyers from the SPLC and NIRP to “engage in derogatory name calling exhibited a lack of professionalism and did not advance the resolution of [the cases at hand].”

“Affirmatively soliciting an amicus brief from FAIR is contrary to [the] spirit of the cannons [sic] of judicial ethics,” NIRP attorney Christopher Strawn had argued, deferring to the SPLC’s hate group designation. “Soliciting an amicus brief from a partisan organization labeled a hate group is unlikely to help with the legal analysis.”

The SPLC’s own attorney in the case, Eunice Hyunyue Cho, went even further, calling FAIR a “discredited, extremist anti-immigrant organization espousing white supremacist, eugenicist, anti-Semetic, and anti-Catholic views.”

EOIR Disciplinary Counsel Jennifer Barnes excoriated the SPLC and NIRP for conduct that “overstepped the bounds of zealous advocacy and was unprofessional,” and wrote that the pro-open borders attorneys made “uncivil comments that disparage FAIR and its staff.” Ms. Barnes continued:

[The SPLC and NIRP Attorneys] called FAIR a “hate-group,” “anti-immigrant,” “white supremacist,” “eugenicist,” “anti-Semetic,” and “anti-Catholic.” None of this language was related or revelvant to the underlying factual or legal matters or FAIR’s amicus brief, and its sole purpose was to denigrate FAIR and its staff. Such language is not appropriate in a filing before the Board (or any judicial tribunal) because it constitutes frivolous behavior and does not aid the administration of Justice.

Monday’s decision by Guidestar is an additional blow to the once-near-universal reverence for SPLC’s hate listings. It comes as the group was thrust back into the spotlight over its “monitoring” of the political right. It was forced to admit this month that James T. Hodgkinson, the Democratic activist who shot House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and four others at a Congressional Charity Baseball Game practice, “liked” their page on Facebook. Scalise was a frequent target of SPLC “Hatewatch” material.
Despite episodes like these, the mainstream media often cite SPLC hate designations uncritically.

The SPLC did not respond to Breitbart New’s request for comment on Guidestar’s decision.

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