Few private organizations can match the Southern Poverty Law Center when it comes to hypocrisy and malign influence, though Media Matters for America might be close. In a development shocking only to its leftist true believers, the founder and most prominent public face of the group, Morris Dees, was fired for unspecified reasons. The Montgomery Advertiser, the home town paper where it is located, reported:
SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement Dees' dismissal over his misconduct was effective on Wednesday, March 13. When pressed for details on what led to the termination, the organization declined to elaborate.
"As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world," Cohen said in the emailed statement. "When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action."
Dees, 82, co-founded the Montgomery-based organization in 1971.
"It was not my decision, what they did," Dees said when reached by phone. "I wish the center the absolute best. Whatever reasons they had of theirs, I don't know."
Instead of any transparency and accountability, the most the SPLC would even hint at was:
Dees' termination is one of several steps taken by the organization this week, Cohen said.
"Today we announced a number of immediate, concrete next steps we’re taking, including bringing in an outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices, to ensure that our talented staff is working in the environment that they deserve — one in which all voices are heard and all staff members are respected," Cohen said.
This implies sexism or racism, quite possibly sexual harassment, but is tantalizingly vague. But The Advertiser long has highlighted related issues:
A 1994 Montgomery Advertiser series provided a deep look into the organization controlled by the multimillionaire Dees, illustrating his near-singular control over the organization and its mammoth budget.
The series, a Pulitzer Prize finalist, revealed a figure seen as heroic by some and single-minded by others. Dees' critics said he was more concerned with fundraising than litigating.
The series also alleged discriminatory treatment of black employees within the advocacy group, despite its outward efforts to improve the treatment of minorities in the country. Staffers at the time “accused Morris Dees, the center’s driving force, of being a racist and black employees have ‘felt threatened and banded together.’” The organization denied the accusations raised in the series.
But these issues are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hypocrisy and outright evil perpetrated by the SPLC, whose half billion dollars ought to be liquated and applied the alleviation of Southern Poverty, about which it has done little. Longtime readers of American Thinker know that we have published literally scores of articles and blogs on that organization’s descent from a long-ago legitimate opponent of real racists into an anti-conservative attack dog, identifying anyone whose agenda opposes theirs as racists. Along the way, it has milked donors and become incredibly rich (over half a billion dollars in assets, $121 million of it parked overseas). It has also sparked appalling hate crimes – including a mass assassination attempt on a completely nonviolent/non-racist think tank, the Family Research Council, that it put on its notorious “hate map.”
Of late, the victims of its reckless defamation have been fighting back, and the SPLC has had to pay up millions of its ill-gotten dollars to the few of the more than 60 lawsuits that have been tried or settled. For example:
Family Research Council (FRC) President Tony Perkinsreleased the following statement in response to the Southern Poverty Law Center's announcement that the organization had settled a defamation lawsuit for nearly $3.4 million:
"The Southern Poverty has long been the Left's pit bull --- resorting to smears and a hate map to advance its liberal political agenda. But its falsehoods and dangerous tactics have finally caught up with them -- with the group doling out millions in a defamation settlement. Even after this massive pay out, the SPLC continues to sit on hundreds of millions dollars (much of it offshore) that they use to advance their liberal policy agenda and their attacks on the opponents. This public acknowledgment of their defamatory actions leave the media and big business with no excuse in continuing to use the SPLC as an objective, independent source," concluded Perkins.
Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, Family Research Council Executive Vice President added the following comments:
"This massive settlement validates what we've been saying all along: the SPLC's illegitimate hate map is motivated by its radical progressive political agenda. The SPLC is a thoroughly disgraced organization that seeks to silence its political opponents with false and defamatory smears that endangers the lives of those targeted with it.
"In a chilling FBI interrogation video, now-convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins -- the man who stormed the Family Research Council's (FRC) headquarters and shot an employee who later disarmed him -- admitted that he picked his targets from a map on the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) website. Since then, the FBI has removed links to the SPLC from its 'hate crimes resources' page, the U.S. Army has distanced themselves from SPLC's materials and now the SPLC has spent millions to settle a defamation lawsuit," concluded Boykin.
And then there is this, via Law & Crime:
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has been hit with a big payout after losing in a defamation lawsuit to Quilliam International and Maajid Nawaz, the founder of the organization. Nawaz objected to being mentioned in SPLC’s “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” and sued for defamation. SPLC has now agreed to pay out a $3.375 million settlement and admitted it was wrong to add Nawaz and his organization to the since-removed list.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center was wrong to include Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in our Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect,” the page where the “Field Guide” seemingly used to be reads. “We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism. Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.”
As the agreement shows, this apology was part of the deal. (snip)
“Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” he said.
The IRS reportedly is investigating a complaint about its abuse of its tax-exempt status.
Despite all these scandals, the SPLC continues to enjoy the favor of the corporate and media establishments, with Google donating a quarter million and many big media outlets relying on its phony designations of hate groups.
So, maybe Dees was fired for sexual or racial infractions, but my strong suspicion is that control of the half billion dollars in assets is the real issue. A pot of money that big attracts a lot of devious people, and it would seem that a lot of devious peeple have found a home over the years at the SPLC.