FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—Republican senators condemned as “deeply disturbing” the Biden administration’s decision to reach out to the Southern Poverty Law Center for advice in combating the “domestic terror threat.”

“Since January 2021, the Biden administration has consistently attempted to weaponize the federal government against its political opponents,” Sen. Katie Britt, R-Ala., told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday. “That it would turn to the SPLC to do so is disturbing but unfortunately not surprising, given their shared animosity towards religious freedom and parental rights.”

“The present-day SPLC has devolved into a disreputable, deeply unserious organization that dishonestly attempts to silence anyone across America who disagrees with its far-left activist agenda,” Britt added. “That makes it a natural ally and echo chamber for a president who routinely demonizes Americans who simply have different political beliefs and perspectives.”

The Alabama Republican was responding to The Daily Signal’s exclusive report Thursday that SPLC President Margaret Huang bragged in 2021 that the Biden administration had reached out to her organization in its efforts to combat “the domestic terrorism threat.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center puts mainstream conservative and Christian groups on a “hate map” with chapters of the Ku Klux Klan. This bias suggests the Biden administration views conservatives as a threat to domestic tranquility, critics say.

“Instead of targeting law-abiding Americans, this administration should be combating the national security, humanitarian, and economic crisis at the southern border—which gravely threatens the safety of our homeland and the well-being of our communities every single day,” Britt said. “I am proud to be a Christian and a conservative, and I’ll continue to fight back against the Biden administration’s radical agenda.”

Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., also slammed the Biden administration, noting as well its work with American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. The SPLC has echoed Weingarten’s rhetoric in condemning parental rights groups.

“Since he took office, President Biden’s administration has routinely worked with radical individuals and groups like Randi Weingarten and the SPLC to shape dangerous policy that targets Americans based on their religion [or] political views or simply because they rightly believe they should be involved in their child’s education,” Scott told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday.

“It’s wrong and shows just how far President Biden will go in dangerously using the same tactics to weaponize government against its people that we see in Communist China, Venezuela and Cuba,” the Florida Republican added. “I will not tolerate this political targeting and will use every tool at my disposal in the Senate to hold this administration accountable for these despicable decisions.”

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., also condemned the Biden administration’s move.

“The SPLC, which masquerades as a civil rights organization, is a far-left activist group that has smeared countless conservatives, including religious and parental rights groups,” Blackburn told The Daily Signal. “It is deeply disturbing that the Biden administration would enlist its help to target conservatives as domestic terrorists, marking just the latest example of this administration’s two-tiered system of justice.”

In Video, SPLC Head Brags About Advising Biden

The Daily Signal exclusively reported that Huang, SPLC’s president, is seen in a video bragging to donors attending a fall 2021 meeting that many agencies in Biden’s administration had approached the center to craft a domestic terrorism strategy.

“I think there’s no question that we are unparalleled in our abilities to track and monitor the hate and extremist groups in the country, and I can tell you that we’ve had many agencies in the new Biden administration reaching out to solicit our expertise and our knowledge and information to help shape the policies that the new administration is adopting to counter the domestic terrorism threat,” Huang said, according to the video.

The Biden administration’s ties to the SPLC make Huang’s claim credible, and neither the White House nor any of the agencies involved in the administration’s domestic terrorism strategy denied Huang’s claim.

Biden and his team hosted SPLC leaders and staff at the White House at least 11 times since Jan. 20, 2021, when Biden became president. Biden nominated an SPLC attorney, Nancy Abudu, to a federal judgeship.

Last year, the FBI’s Richmond office used the SPLC’s “hate group” list to target “radical-traditional Catholics” in an infamous memo. According to the SPLC’s logic, critics say, the entire Roman Catholic Church arguably should be listed as a “hate group” because the SPLC cited the Catechism of the Catholic Church in branding the Ruth Institute a “hate group.”

Just this week, the White House touted Vice President Kamala Harris’ meeting “with voting rights leaders.” Among the leaders highlighted: Seth Levi, the SPLC’s chief strategy officer.

SPLC’s Lack of Credibility

As I wrote in my book “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC has faced numerous hits to its credibility, especially on the issue of domestic terrorism.

In 2012, a terrorist gunman used the SPLC “hate map” to target the Christian nonprofit the Family Research Council. He planned to shoot everyone in the building, but the building manager successfully foiled his plan. Although the SPLC condemned the attack, it kept FRC on its map.

Last March, police arrested an SPLC attorney at a riot in Atlanta involving Molotov cocktails, and he now faces domestic terrorism charges. The SPLC also has a long track record of carrying water for Antifa, the violent extremist group involved in the 2020 riots across the country.

Critics on both the Right and the Left long have accused the Southern Poverty Law Center of exaggerating hate in order to scare donors into ponying up cash. In 2019, amid a racial discimination and sexual harassment scandal, a former employee called the SPLC’s “hate” accusations a “highly profitable scam.”

In 2018, the SPLC paid $3.4 million to settle a defamation lawsuit after it branded a Muslim reformer an “anti-Muslim extremist.” The SPLC currently faces another defamation lawsuit for branding an immigration reform organization an “anti-immigrant hate group.”

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