12/7/17 – SPLC Reply


[Update: On June 18, 2018, SPLC admitted it paid $3.4 million and apologized to Maajid Nawaz for smearing him with its false claims.]

The Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter claiming a recent Behind the Headlines  segment was “inaccurate, defamatory and irresponsible.”

Let’s take a look.

We said according to its 2015 tax returns, the SPLC spent $62,000 on legal expenses that year. The SPLC tells us, however, that figure represents the amount it spent on its own corporate legal services and not the amount it spent providing legal services for others.  Not including salaries and other overhead costs, SPLC says in 2015 it “spent more than $1.8 million in out-of-pocket costs for litigation brought on behalf of its clients.”

The group claims its audited financials show it spent more than $15 million on legal initiatives of behalf of its clients that year. A spokesman told BTH this includes all legal department costs such as staff salaries, the previously-mentioned 1.8 million dollars, and advocacy material for Congress. What some may call “lobbying” expenses.

We said “[a] young woman who called into a radio show to discuss socialism is on the [SPLC’s Hate Group] list.”  Their spokesman said this is incorrect. Instead, the woman is listed on the organization’s “Hatewatch” blog with all other callers to a radio program affiliated with the Family Research Council.  The SPLC named the FRC a hate group.  Other radio callers on the same list include a governor, a lieutenant governor, 13 members of Congress and a Coast Guard admiral.

We said Maajid Nawaz and the Liberty Counsel are among three organizations suing the SPLC for defamation. The SPLC said “no lawsuits gave been filed against the SPLC by [those two].” In a videotaped statement, Nawaz stated he intends to sue the SPLC and is raising money for legal expenses.

The Liberty Counsel is suing GuideStar, an organization tracking non-profits, for adopting the SPLC “defamatory” “designation of Liberty Counsel as a ‘hate group’.” [here]

[Update 4/27/2018: SPLC has retracted four articles in just a two-month period over accuracy concerns and defamation claims.]

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