The Southern Poverty Law Center was long ago exposed as money-making scam.
It has amassed almost half-a-billion dollars fighting an imaginary tide of “hate” that is ever “rising,” which provides the twin benefits of bringing in that money and advancing the totalitarian goals of the radical Left. Topping that agenda is demonizing any opposition to the Left as “hate,” be it racism, homophobia, transphobia, and Islamophobia.
But last week, the discredited group fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, a shocker in the “civil rights community” that opened the door to discussing exactly who Dees is and what goes on at SPLC, also called the Poverty Palace.
Former SPLC staff member Bob Moser took to the New Yorker to elaborate on what we’ve known for some time: The SPLC is, again, a money-making scam. But he revealed that truth from the inside.
Until Justice Rolls Down Like Dollars
A detailed report in the Los Angeles Times explained that SPLC fired Dees likely because of the long-term abuse of women and blacks at the organization.
Stephen Bright, a Yale law professor and former director of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, told the Times that SPLC’s fundraising is “fraudulent,” and called Dees a “flimflam man and he’s managed to flimflam his way along for many years raising money by telling people about the Ku Klux Klan and hate groups,” he said. “He sort of goes to whatever will sell and has, of course, brought in millions and millions and millions of dollars.”
The flim-flam man’s career is officially over, and Moser offers a few insights that open with an amusing but telling vignette:
I’ve been thinking about the jokes my S.P.L.C. colleagues and I used to tell to keep ourselves sane. Walking to lunch past the center’s Maya Lin-designed memorial to civil-rights martyrs, we’d cast a glance at the inscription from Martin Luther King, Jr., etched into the black marble — “Until justice rolls down like waters”— and intone, in our deepest voices, “Until justice rolls down like dollars.” The Law Center had a way of turning idealists into cynics.
Working in a building that “made social justice ‘look despotic,’” the earnest young leftist quickly learned that fighting hate involved a lot of hypocrisy and a lot more money.
Of the hypocrisy, Moser wrote, blacks at SPLC were almost uniformly “administrative and support staff — ‘the help,’ one of my black colleagues said pointedly.” But the “‘professional staff’ — the lawyers, researchers, educators, public-relations officers, and fund-raisers — were almost exclusively white. Just two staffers, including me, were openly gay.”
Of the money-making, Moser quotes another of Dees’s critics, who says Dees viewed “civil-rights work mainly as a marketing tool for bilking gullible Northern liberals.”
So beyond Dees’s having a “reputation for hitting on young women,” SPLC is just a storefront for selling the “fight against hate” to make a pile of money. “The work could be meaningful and gratifying,” Moser wrote. “But it was hard, for many of us, not to feel like we’d become pawns in what was, in many respects, a highly profitable scam.”
SPLC, a former staff member said to Moser, was a “virtual buffet of injustices.”
Moser eventually admits that he and other staffers didn’t care enough about their own integrity to blow the whistle:
Outside of work, we spent a lot of time drinking and dishing in Montgomery bars and restaurants about the oppressive security regime, the hyperbolic fund-raising appeals, and the fact that, though the center claimed to be effective in fighting extremism, “hate” always continued to be on the rise, more dangerous than ever, with each year’s report on hate groups. “The S.P.L.C.— making hate pay,” we’d say.
It wasn’t funny then. At this moment, it seems even grimmer.
But Moser and this coworkers participated in the “making hate pay.”
No Objections at All to What SPLC Did
Not once in this half-apology for joining this massive fraud did Moser express sorrow for helping smear innocent conservatives.
Aside from defaming mainstream conservatives, SPLC’s application of the “hate group” label inspired an attempted mass murder at the Family Research Council.
But Moser’s concern was this: “As critics have long pointed out, however, the hate-group designations also drive attention to the extremists. Many groups, including the religious-right Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom, raise considerable money by decrying the S.P.L.C.’s ‘attacks.’”
Moser never admits that the SPLC’s “extremist” and “hate” designations are either bogus or highly suspect, or that the designated targets don’t really exist. Nor does he mention that SPLC faces multiple lawsuits alleging defamation, mail fraud and violations of the Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizaitions Act.