Christine Ford, Justin Fairfax, and Me

When it was reported that the law firm of Ballard Spahr was representing Justin Fairfax, the Virginia Lieutenant Governor accused of raping two women, several bells went off in my head. I knew Ballard Spahr had also represented the serial liar Christine Blasey Ford in her attempt to destroy the reputation and career of Brett Kavanaugh. But I was also familiar with Ballard as the firm that represented the once-liberal organization Common Cause in its attempt to tar me as a “white supremacist” and “sexist,” and destroy my own reputation. This effort was particularly instructive in revealing the dangerous mentality behind the blacklist, and the menace it poses not only to conservatives like myself, but to the future of our democracy.

The episode that put Ballard on my radar was an American Legislative Exchange Commission (ALEC) convention that took place last August in New Orleans. About 1200 state legislators attended. The entire thrust of my speech was that Republicans were too timid in advancing conservative agendas. I urged them to seize the opportunities created by President Trump’s bold and aggressive example.[1] I noted that Republicans had failed to repeal and replace Obamacare though they had been elected to do just that. I also referred to the fact that Republicans controlled 33 legislatures but had done nothing to stop Democrat teacher unions and their members from turning the K-12 schools into indoctrination platforms for leftist agendas. The result, was that, “school curricula have been turned over to racist organizations like Black Lives Matter, and terrorist organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood [through its front group CAIR].” These were the only references to blacks or Muslims I made in a 20-minute speech, but they were enough for leftists to use them to attack me and damage my hosts.[2]

In addition to my keynote speech, which received a standing ovation from the assembled legislators, I also spoke on a panel on the same subject. In my remarks, I recalled a seminal moment when Trump emerged as a different kind of Republican leader. This took place during the first primary debate, where the very first question was to Trump, and came from Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who accused him of calling women “fat pigs, dogs and slobs.” Instead of backing away from these remarks, as every other Republican would have attempted to do, Trump immediately replied: “Only Rosie O’Donnell.” The reference was to an obese actress with a nasty mouth, who had previously been involved in many ugly public exchanges with Trump.[3] Trump’s answer won me over. He was the first Republican I was aware of who would not be cowed by political correctness and retreat under fire, but instead was ready to fight back.

David Horowitz (file photo by Gage Skidmore)

When the panel invited questions from the audience, a distraught state legislator from Wisconsin named Chris Taylor rose to attack me. “You can’t say that about women,” she commented angrily. “You can’t call women fat pigs.” To which I replied: “Even if they are fat pigs? And with nasty mouths like Rosie O’Donnell? Why do you feel that you are personally implicated by O’Donnell’s behavior or Trump’s remark - or that women as a whole are? Why doesn’t the comment apply just to the individual herself and to specific context of their conflicts?”[4]

I hadn’t realized the questioner was a Democrat, nor did I think about the incident further. But three days later an article appeared on the left-wing site, called “ALEC in Disarray.” It was written by Taylor and described my panel as “the biggest disaster I have ever seen at an ALEC conference….  One of the key speakers was right-wing provocateur David Horowitz. Horowitz is listed in a Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) report published by Alternet with the title, 10 of America's Most Dangerous Hatemongers.”[5]

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a $400 million dollar hate machine, which targets conservatives and smears them as hate groups. Its slander, “hatemonger,” proved sufficient – without supporting evidence -- to cost ALEC tens of thousands of dollars in donations over the next two months. Two and a half weeks after my speech, PR Watch announced that a broad coalition of 79 leftist organizations had agreed to join in pressuring ALEC’s corporate donors to withdraw their financial support. At the end of August, the 79 were joined by Common Cause and People for the American Way, once pillars of American liberalism.

Common Cause announced to its members that it had signed on with “more than 70 other … organizations urging some of the largest corporate funders… to cut ties with the organization after ALEC gave hatemonger David Horowitz a platform at their recent conference to spread white supremacist, sexist, and racist ideas.”[6] The letter the coalition sent to ALEC’s corporate donors began:

We write to urge that you cease your association with and stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which recently provided a platform for white supremacist, sexist, and racist rhetoric at their annual meeting…. [No examples were provided-DH] Horowitz’s Freedom Center has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a group “giving anti-Muslim voices and radical ideologies a platform to project hate and misinformation.”[7]

Within a month, Verizon, the largest telecommunications provider in the United States and a sponsor of ALEC for thirty years, told The Intercept that the company was withdrawing its support: “’Our company has no tolerance for racist, white supremacist or sexist comment or ideals,’ Verizon spokesperson Richard Young said.”[8] Verizon’s withdrawal was followed by AT&T’s, whose spokesman, Jim Greer told The Intercept. “We have ended our membership with ALEC and their convention speaker was a key factor in the decision.” Note that AT&T didn’t claim it was anything I actually said that prompted their decision. The Intercept, also reported that Dow Chemical and Honeywell had withdrawn their financial support.[9]

When my lawyers sent a letter to Common Cause demanding a retraction for slandering me as a “white supremacist” and “sexist,” a Ballard Spahr lawyer named Seth D. Berlin replied: “Common Cause declines to do so…. Common Cause’s characterizations of your clients’ ‘ideas’ and ‘rhetoric’ as ‘white supremacist,’ ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ and the like, are fully protected expressions of its opinion.”

This was true. Since 1964, slandering a public figure – defaming him without evidence - is protected by the Constitution as per a decision of the Supreme Court in NYTimes v. Sullivan.[10] This decision is responsible for the debased state of our current press since it has relieved media institutions of their legal liability for making false and character-damaging statements about public figures they oppose. Slander has consequently – and disastrously -- become the common currency of the Fourth Estate.

I already understood these facts but had asked my lawyer to send the letter anyway, knowing we did not have a legal case. I saw it as an appeal to the conscience of the Common Cause executives to look at what I had actually said and voluntarily take an action that would repair some of the damage they had done to my reputation. What I was not quite prepared for was the cynical leftism of the Ballard lawyer, Seth D. Berlin.

Having noted the law’s failure to protect public figures from unscrupulous attacks, Berlin proceeded, in a wholly gratuitous gesture, to slander me again. His attack showed me how far politically-motivated disrespect for the facts had corrupted even the ranks of professionals: “Even if Common Cause’s characterizations of your clients were somehow deemed to be [actionable], there is overwhelming evidence that they are substantially true, as is clear from Mr. Horowitz’s many speeches and writings….  For example … he (a) denigrated the Black Lives Matter movement, calling it a “racist organization,” (b) referred to “white skin privilege” as a “ludicrous doctrine,” (d) called Roe v. Wade a “travesty of justice,”…. (f) clearly aligned himself with President Trump, who has frequently embraced racist, sexist, homophobic and other bigoted views.”[11]

If supporting President Trump, along with 63 million other Americans, or doubting that “white skin privilege” has a basis in reality, is “overwhelming evidence” of racism, or calling Roe v. Wade a “travesty of justice, along with such prominent pro-abortion liberal jurists as John Hart Ely – who called it “bad law… because it is not constitutional law, and gives almost no sense of an obligation to try to be” --  then we are well along the path to a one-party state.[12]

The potency of a discredited blacklist like SPLC’s “Hate Watch” can be attributed first of all to the way the racial politics of the left label every policy dissent – over abortion, affirmative action, immigration, and anti-police vigilante-ism – “racist,” and “sexist.” The vast networks of the left share SPLC’s political agendas and believe in their own righteousness so passionately that they could hardly be less concerned with facts, let alone the rights of those who disagree with them. These networks include ancillary smear sites and blacklists such as Right Wing Watch, Source Watch, Media Matters, Think Progress and others that draw extensively on the slanders provided by SPLC, while adding some of their own. But the slanders are also abetted by journalists too lazy or uninterested to ascertain the facts, and by corporate organizations apprehensive of attacks from the left should they fail to respect its prejudices.

The platform that enables me to participate in the national debate is the David Horowitz Freedom Center, which I created in 1988. In the fall of 2018, one of our donors received the following letter when she tried to get matching funds for her donation from a charity set up for that purpose:

Hi, Anne,

Thank you for reaching out to us about David Horowitz Freedom Center. At this time, the organization that you are interested in supporting is not included in the program because they are on the SPLC watch list. The SPLC is, “Dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation’s children.” Because David Horowitz Freedom Center is on the SPLC watch list, they have been marked as an ineligible organization. More information on the SPLC can be found on their website ( and if you have any questions for us, please let us know.


The letter was signed by the “Goodness Engagement Specialist” of the charity.

At about the same time, Mastercard informed the company that handles the donation website for the Freedom Center that it would no longer honor Mastercard credited donations. Fortunately, the Center’s lawyers were able to get Mastercard to reverse their decision but not before a considerable amount of money was lost.

According to Mastercard, their action was taken in response to a complaint from the website, which was created by Color of Change, an organization that was founded by CNN commentator and Democratic Party leftist, Van Jones. The headlines on the site read: “Who’s Taking Blood Money from Hate Groups? Financial service companies doing business with white supremacists are profiting from hate.” According to Blood Money, as many as “158 funding sources have been removed from white supremacist sites since the beginning of this campaign.”

Breitbart editor Allum Bokhari has called this “financial blacklisting… the most totalitarian form of blacklisting,” and a “terrifying new threat to freedom.” I could not agree more.

David Horowitz is the author of the newly published book, Dark Agenda: The War to Destroy Christian America, 2019

[2] For documentation see, a website I am responsible for.

[4] I have had to reconstruct the remarks of Chris Taylor and myself as there is no transcript of the session.

[6] Again, the text of the speech, containing my unexceptional comments about Black Lives Matter and CAIR’s Islamist propaganda in K-12 schools, can be read here:

[11] Letter dated October 12, 2018 from Seth D. Berlin, Ballard Spahr, LLP, attorney for Common Cause. I have omitted two of Berlin’s slanders because it would be too tedious to correct his gross misrepresentations of the facts in my text. Suffice it to say I am not opposed to gay marriage, as Berlin claims without evidence, and I did not “mock a children’s book for referring to feminism and transgendered individuals.” I objected to a book called A Is For Activist because it was used in K-12 schools to teach kindergarteners and first graders the alphabet, while promoting leftwing agendas.

[12] Yale Law Journal April 1973.

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