House Subcommittee Cites Troubled Southern Poverty Law Center List

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a mess.

Just this year, the organization founded its founder, Morris Dees, for undisclosed reasons. Later, other senior leaders stepped down, employees spoke out against harassment and discrimination within the organization, and outside consultants were brought in to evaluate the practices of the so-called civil rights watchdog. The organization has long been criticized for placing Christian organizations like Family Research Council (which the SPLC considers to be a hate group because of its beliefs about homosexuality) in the same category as racist organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.

Last month, a House of Representatives subcommittee held a hearing entitled “How the Tax Code Subsidizes Hate.” The hearing discussed so-called hate groups that have obtained tax exempt status as charitable organizations. According to the Daily Signal, the subcommittee made use of the SPLC’s hate group listings, and some members expressed a desire to revoke the tax-exempt status of the so-called hate groups.

Why would members of the House of Representatives continue to place confidence in the SPLC’s listings, given the organization’s serious internal problems and clear tendency to paint groups that disagree with them as bigots? It doesn’t make sense. And if House Democrats attempt to remove the tax-exempt status of legitimate Christian organizations based on name-calling from the SPLC, their efforts will be strongly and firmly opposed.