The Southern Poverty Law Center routinely attempts to shame charities into blacklisting conservative nonprofits to defund the SPLC’s ideological opponents, whom it brands as hateful.
This week, the SPLC released a report condemning six donor-advised funds for directing money to “extremist finance.” The report aims to shame the charity sector into blacklisting specific organizations.
The list includes many of the SPLC’s former targets, but it also features two new names: Turning Point USA and Project Veritas.
As I explain in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC took the program it had used to bankrupt organizations associated with the Ku Klux Klan and weaponized it against conservative groups, partially to scare its donors into ponying up cash and partially to silence ideological opponents. Amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal in which the SPLC fired its co-founder, a former employee called the “hate” accusations a “highly profitable scam.”
The SPLC brands conservative Christian nonprofits that advocate religious freedom, such as Alliance Defending Freedom and Family Research Council, “anti-LGBTQ+ hate groups,” while it brands organizations that advocate enforcing U.S. immigration law, such as the Center for Immigration Studies, “anti-immigrant hate groups.” The SPLC brands organizations that warn about radical Islam, such as the David Horowitz Freedom Center, “anti-Muslim hate groups.”
The SPLC recently added parental rights groups such as Moms for America and Parents Defending Education to its “hate map,” branding them as “antigovernment extremist groups” that are part of an “anti-student inclusion movement.”
Each of these groups appears in the report published Wednesday by the SPLC.
“Hate and extremist groups have received upward of $23 million in cash from ‘donor-advised funds,’ recently released forms show,” Megan Squire, the SPLC’s deputy director for data analytics and open-source intelligence, writes in the report.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project and other media organizations have reported for years that donor-advised funds can act as a consistent and significant source of income for groups peddling a variety of hateful and extremist beliefs,” Squire adds.
Squire analyzes the 2021 annual reports of the Bradley Impact Fund, Donors Trust, Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, National Philanthropic Trust, Paypal Charitable Giving Fund, and Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program, concluding that five of these six donor-advised funds directed more than $1 million to organizations on the SPLC’s naughty list.
DonorsTrust, which the Southern Poverty Law Center accused of sending $2.2 million to “hate and extremist groups,” condemned the SPLC report as an attempt to demonize those with different beliefs and insisted that the report wwon’t affect DonorsTrust’s commitment to serving its donors.
“DonorsTrust is committed to honoring our givers’ charitable wishes and their right to freely express themselves through their giving,” DonorsTrust President and CEO Lawson Bader told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. “It’s sad that organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center demonize those who simply have different approaches to issues or hold different deeply held beliefs on, for example, abortion or border security.”
“Demonized or not, DonorsTrust will continue to do what we’ve done since our founding: Defend all donors’ constitutional right to free speech and freedom of association, as upheld numerous times by the Supreme Court,” Bader added.
Fidelity declined to comment on the report, while the other donor-advised funds didn’t respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time.
The Southern Poverty Law Center did not respond to The Daily Signal’s request for comment, but some organizations blacklisted by SPLC did.
“Everyone should be able to give to the causes that they believe in, but left-wing political activists like the SPLC are trying to limit that freedom by targeting mainstream, conservative organizations,” Jeremy Tedesco, senior vice president of corporate engagement at Alliance Defending Freedom, told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. “The SPLC wants to silence rather than debate people they disagree with.”
“One way they do that is by pressuring financial institutions to cut off giving to organizations they put on their ideological blacklists,” Tedesco noted. “Their end game is tyranny, not tolerance. People should have the freedom to give to the charitable organizations they cherish most.”
“The Southern Poverty Law Center is a discredited smear factory which already had to pay out millions over its slanderous claims,” Daniel Greenfield, executive vice president at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday.
“Its plot to cut off donations to patriotic groups like the David Horowitz Freedom Center, Moms for America and Turning Point USA by targeting ‘donor-advised fund’ donations are not part of a fight against ‘hate’, but a conspiracy to suppress those who stand up to its extremist politics,” he added.
Project Veritas, which doesn’t often find itself in the SPLC’s crosshairs, contested that organization’s suggestion that it is “extreme.”
“Project Veritas has broken some of the most important stories in a generation,” Hannah Giles, the company’s CEO, told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. “The only thing extreme about Project Veritas is the extreme impact our reporting has on the national conversation regarding corruption in government, Big Pharma, education, Big Tech, and other powerful institutions.”
“Investigative journalism isn’t right or left,” Giles added. “We will always expose corruption, waste, fraud, and abuse—wherever it may be found. Unlike the SPLC, which keeps its doors open by convincing donors that ‘hate’ is around every corner, we offer hope to the American people through our relentless efforts to combat the propaganda that is so prevalent in our society.”
Squire, author of the SPLC’s report, reportedly has ties to Antifa.
The magazine Wired profiled Squire as Antifa’s “secret weapon,” noting that although she doesn’t identify as a member of Antifa, she refuses to condemn the extremist group’s use of violence.
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