The Justice Department arm focused on prosecuting “hate crimes” welcomed input from a far-left organization known for demonizing conservatives and Christians right after that organization put parental rights groups, including Moms for Liberty, on a “hate map” alongside the Ku Klux Klan, documents obtained by The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project reveal. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news and commentary outlet.)

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which notoriously brands mainstream conservative and Christian organizations as hateful by placing them on a “hate map” in what a former employee describes as a fundraising scheme, reached out to the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division on June 6, 2023—the day the SPLC released its annual “Year in Hate and Extremism” report and had added Moms for Liberty to the map.

The new documents, obtained by the Oversight Project via a Freedom of Information Act request, reveal yet more collaboration between the Biden administration and the far-left group.

The Justice Department confirmed to the Washington Examiner that the briefing did indeed take place, although the department did not specify when.

SPLC Outreach

Michael Lieberman, senior policy counsel for “hate & extremism” at the SPLC, reached out to Robert Moossy Jr., deputy assistant attorney general at the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, and Sheila Foran, acting head of the Civil Rights Division’s Policy and Strategy Section, granting Moossy and Foran a “quick embargoed peek” ahead of the full report.

“We’d love to work with you both and the policy team to set up a briefing for interested DOJ interdepartmental hate crime task force members this month,” Lieberman wrote. “If you’re interested, happy to talk about scheduling time with our report authors and SPLC Intelligence Project subject-matter experts.”

The SPLC used its Intelligence Project to monitor Klan activity in the 1980s and later expanded the project to develop the “hate map,” which began to include mainstream conservative organizations in the 2000s.

Foran forwarded Lieberman’s email to Johnathan Smith, deputy assistant attorney general at the Civil Rights Division, and Luis Lopez, chief of the Policy and Strategy Section at the division. That section supports and coordinates the division’s policy work “by developing and analyzing legislative, regulatory, and policy proposals relating to the division’s enforcement authorities,” according to its website.

Lieberman’s “sneak peek” included a summary of the “Year in Hate and Extremism” report, describing the report as an “annual census of hate groups and anti-government groups” and as “one barometer of the level of hate and anti-government extremist activity in the country.”

The document described the report’s “key messages,” such as the claim that “hate and anti-government extremist groups are descending on Main Street America”; that “far-right lawmakers are pushing legislation straight from the scripts of hate groups, including bills that seek to control the bodies of women and those who can give birth, whitewash black history in schools, and criminalize LGBTQ+ people”; and the claim that “one group at the forefront of this ‘anti-student inclusion’ movement is Moms for Liberty,” which the SPLC accused of attempting to “normalize assaults on inclusive education.”

Lieberman sent a follow-up email with a link to the SPLC report after it had been published, again asking to arrange a “special briefing” on it.

His email also highlighted aspects of the report, noting that “for the first time, we are designating reactionary anti-student inclusion groups, like Moms for Liberty, as anti-government extremist groups.”

The email also lists policy recommendations, such as enforcing “hate crime” laws, providing “initiatives to reduce structural racism,” confronting “white supremacy in the military and in law enforcement,” confronting “reactionary anti-student inclusion and censorship campaigns,” and demanding that “social media companies should not enable the funding or amplifying of white supremacist ideas or provide a safe haven for extremists.”

The document also warns that the “great replacement” theory, which it describes as “a conspiracy theory that is inherently white supremacist and antisemitic,” is “being widely perpetuated in media and political narratives.”

Highlights from the SPLC’s “Year in Hate and Extremism” report from an email from Michael Lieberman of the SPLC to the DOJ.

DOJ Response

Foran responded to this email by thanking Lieberman and promising to share the report with the Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative. She also promised to “circle back” on “setting up a briefing.”

“We appreciate the offer!” she added.

“Arranging a briefing for members of the Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative is a high priority for us,” Lieberman responded. “Hope we can arrange it.”

Separately, Moossy wrote to Foran, Smith, and Lopez, misspelling Foran’s first name, “Shaila, this briefing makes sense to me, when is the next quarterly meeting?”

Moossy also forwarded the SPLC report to other colleagues, suggesting members of the Hate Crimes Enforcement and Prevention Initiative would accept the briefing and discuss the report.

He addressed the Policy and Strategy Section and the Criminal Section at the Civil Rights Division, asking, “Anything in here relevant or useful for next week’s meeting?”

These documents do not reveal whether the SPLC did indeed brief the hate crimes initiative, but they do demonstrate that the Civil Rights Division took the SPLC’s “hate map” report and the SPLC’s smears against conservative and Christian organizations, particularly Moms for Liberty, seriously.

The SPLC’s Ties With the Biden Administration

As I wrote in my book, “Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center,” the SPLC has faced numerous scandals related to its hate accusations. Its smears led to a domestic terrorist attack in 2012. The SPLC also paid millions to a Muslim reformer it branded an “anti-Muslim extremist.” And amid a racial discrimination and sexual harassment scandal that led the SPLC to fire its co-founder in 2019, a former employee called the “hate” accusations a “highly profitable scam.”

Despite these scandals, the Biden White House has hosted SPLC leaders and staff at least 11 times, and Biden nominated an SPLC attorney to a top federal judgeship.

Recently unearthed documents showed that a leading Education Department official met with SPLC staff in 2022, one year before the SPLC put Moms for Liberty on its “hate map.”

The White House had previously targeted parents who spoke out to school boards amid school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic, helping to draft the (later rescinded) National School Boards Association letter to President Joe Biden comparing concerned parents to domestic terrorists.

In a 2021 call with donors, SPLC President Margaret Huang bragged that the Biden administration reached out to her organization for advice to “help shape” its domestic terrorism strategy.

These new documents from the DOJ suggest Huang was indeed telling the truth.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division enforces the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Act, and under Biden, the division has charged at least 26 pro-life protesters with violating the FACE Act by protesting in front of abortion centers. Meanwhile, according to CatholicVote, the division has only brought five cases against pro-abortion activists, despite the fact that pro-abortion vandals targeted at least 88 pro-life pregnancy centers and 228 Catholic churches since the May 2022 leak of the Supreme Court’s draft opinion overturning Roe v. Wade.

Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta admitted in December 2022 that the overturning of Roe increased “the urgency” of the DOJ’s work, including the “enforcement of the FACE Act, to ensure continued lawful access to reproductive services.”

Neither the Department of Justice nor the SPLC responded to The Daily Signal’s request for comment by publication time.

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