The Justice Department backtracked on its 2021 memo urging the investigation of concerned parents, but the Left and the Biden administration seem to be gearing up for another round.
President Joe Biden’s White House did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment about the ties between the administration and the Southern Poverty Law Center, which last week added parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education to its “hate map,” listing them alongside KKK chapters.
Two days after the SPLC released its “hate map” and list of “hate groups” for 2022, the White House on June 8 released a strategy “to Protect LGBTQI+ Communities.” That strategy cites “federal threat monitoring” showing that LGBT individuals face threats “increasingly tied to hate groups and domestic violent extremists.” The Biden administration’s strategy also announced that the DOJ will take “an all-of-Department approach to protecting LGBTQI+ rights,” touting the DOJ’s United Against Hate initiative.
The strategy also aims to “shield LGBTQI+ Americans from book bans,” announcing that the Department of Education would seek to counter efforts by parental rights groups such as Moms for Liberty to protect children from sexually explicit books in school.
As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC routinely brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as “hate groups.” It tars religious freedom organizations such as Alliance Defending Freedom as “anti-LGBTQ hate groups,” and this smear inspired a gunman to target the Family Research Council for a terrorist attack in 2012.
The White House appeared to use the SPLC’s terminology in its new strategy only two days after the SPLC released its updated list of “hate groups.”
The strategy also links to a Department of Homeland Security webpage that includes resources on “digital and media literacy.” Those resources include a document drafted by the SPLC alongside American University’s Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab.
Furthermore, an SPLC chief policy officer took part in the White House’s United We Stand Summit last September. White House records reviewed by The Washington Free Beacon reveal that Susan Corke, head of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project (which is behind the “hate map”), met Jan. 6 with the National Security Council’s counterterrorism director, John Picarelli. Corke led the effort to add Moms for Liberty to the “hate map.”
SPLC staff spoke, as did Picarelli, at the “Eradicate Hate Global Summit,” also held in September.
The White House has not been secretive about working with the SPLC. Biden’s office celebrated the SPLC’s support for its antisemitism effort last month, and Biden twice nominated an SPLC attorney to a top federal judgeship.
This Biden-SPLC collaboration, amid renewed government attacks on concerned parents, seems reminiscent of the letter that inspired the DOJ memo investigating parents. The DOJ memo followed a letter from the National School Boards Association comparing parents who protest school district policies to domestic terrorists and encouraging Biden to use the Patriot Act against those parents. Later documents revealed that the White House had worked with the school board association to draft the letter.
The DOJ ultimately rescinded the memo and the National School Boards Association apologized for the letter. But recent developments suggest the SPLC may be fulfilling the association’s role in another round of attacks on parents.
The White House didn’t respond to The Daily Signal’s questions about whether Biden officials had coordinated with Corke or the Southern Poverty Law Center in drafting or creating the administration’s LGBT strategy.
The White House also didn’t respond to questions about whether it encouraged the SPLC to brand concerned parents such as Moms for Liberty “antigovernment extremist groups” and place them on the “hate map” with the KKK. The White House also declined to identify which groups it considers “hate groups.”
The SPLC’s 2022 report names numerous parental rights organizations, including 230 chapters of Moms for Liberty, No Left Turn in Education (based in Gladwyne, Pennsylvania), 12 chapters of Parental Rights in Education, and many state-based chapters of Parents Involved in Education.
The SPLC had hinted that it might attack such groups in April, when the organization’s Maya Henson Carey compared parental rights advocates to the “Uptown Klans” of white Southerners who tried to maintain segregation after the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.
The SPLC has faced numerous scandals and hits to its credibility. In 2019, it fired co-founder Morris Dees amid accusations of racial discrimination and sexual harassment going back decades. Amid that scandal, a former employee came forward as having been “part of the con.” He wrote that the SPLC’s hate accusations are a “highly profitable scam.” In 2018, the SPLC paid $3.38 million to a Muslim reformer whom it had branded an “anti-Islamic extremist.”
The Dustin Inman Society, which the SPLC brands an “anti-immigrant hate group,” filed a defamation lawsuit against the organization. That lawsuit cleared a major hurdle earlier this year.
The Southern Poverty Law Center didn’t respond to a request for comment.
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