FIRST ON THE DAILY SIGNAL—Conservative U.S. senators condemned President Joe Biden’s Justice Department for receiving a briefing on “hate” from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a far-left group notorious for comparing conservative organizations with the Ku Klux Klan.

“It is sadly predictable that the Biden administration is echoing the anti-conservative activists at the Southern Poverty Law Center,” Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told The Daily Signal in a written statement Friday. “Even pretending to take them seriously demonstrates a serious lack of judgment.”

“Biden’s leadership at the DOJ are partisans using another partisan organization to legitimize prosecuting Biden’s political opponents,” he added.

Cruz was responding to documents unearthed by The Heritage Foundation’s Oversight Project, which show that the SPLC reached out to the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division before releasing the 2022 version of its “hate map” in June 2023. The SPLC developed the “hate map” to track chapters of the Klan and other racist groups, but it has placed mainstream conservative and Christian organizations on the same map in recent years, suggesting they are hateful like the KKK. The “hate map” inspired a terrorist attack at the Family Research Council in 2012.

The 2022 “hate map” added parental rights groups, such as Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education, framing the parental rights movement as an “anti-student inclusion movement” led by “anti-immigrant extremist groups.”

The Justice Department warmly received the SPLC’s suggestion of a briefing at the time. The DOJ confirmed to The Washington Examiner’s Breccan Theis that the SPLC did indeed brief law enforcement on hate shortly after the release of the “hate map.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a corrupt and vicious tool used by far-left radicals to label anyone they disagree with as hateful or extremist to advance their own extreme political agenda,” McKinley Lewis, communications director for Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., told The Daily Signal in a statement Friday.

“Sen. Scott finds it alarming that the Biden administration would continue to coordinate with this radical group to label a group of parents, well within their rights to be involved in the education of their children, as dangerous or hateful,” Lewis added.

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. The SPLC paid millions in a defamation settlement to a Muslim reformer it had slandered, calling him an “anti-Muslim extremist.” 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, a 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 (subsequently rescinded) National School Boards Association letter to President Joe Biden likening 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 about this influence in the Biden administration.

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 brought only 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.”

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