RNC: ‘Legitimizing the SPLC Puts Conservative Groups … at Risk of Attack’

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On Sunday, the Republican National Committee (RNC) issued a resolution condemning the scandal-plagued far-left smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), warning that its “hate group” accusations put “conservative groups and voices at risk of attack.” The RNC resolution cites the attempted terrorist attack at the Family Research Council (FRC) in 2012 and insists that the federal government should not rely on the SPLC as a legitimate source of information. The SPLC responded by condemning President Donald Trump and the GOP of “partnering with hate groups.”

“The SPLC is a radical organization, and … the federal government should not view this organization as a legitimate foundation equipped to provide actionable information to [the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] or any other government agency,” the resolution states.

The RNC statement notes that the SPLC “is a far-left organization with an obvious bias” and “makes a practice of incorrectly labeling persons and organizations as ‘hate groups.'” It further warns that the SPLC’s actions “have served to mobilize persons to act in hate and violence towards those on its ‘hate group’ list,” specifically mentioning FRC, which “suffered a violent attack due to its support of the traditional family, which the SPLC has deemed as hateful.”

“The Obama Administration legitimized the SPLC and acted upon their request that the federal government formally identify individuals and organizations as ‘hate groups,'” the resolution argues, noting that the Obama-Biden administration allowed the SPLC to provide input to DHS. The RNC condemned such a policy, warning that “legitimizing the SPLC puts conservative groups or voices at risk of attack.”

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The SPLC response

SPLC President and CEO Margaret Huang shot back, arguing that the RNC resolution “is an attack on the SPLC’s definition of hate groups in order to excuse the Trump administration’s history of working with individuals and organizations that malign entire groups of people — such as Black Lives Matter advocates, immigrants, Muslims and the LGBTQ community — with dehumanizing rhetoric.” She claimed that “hate groups” “have found a place in the Republican Party.”

Huang further argued that the RNC “did not denounce organizations that promote antisemitism, Islamophobia, neo-Nazis, anti-LGBT sentiment or racism,” although both the 2016 and 2020 GOP platforms state: “We denounce bigotry, racism, anti-Semitism, ethnic prejudice, and religious intolerance. Therefore, we oppose discrimination based on race, sex, religion, creed, disability, or national origin and support statutes to end such discrimination.”

Tellingly, Huang condemned FRC as a “hate group” in her statement, even though the SPLC accusation against FRC inspired an attempted terrorist attack in 2012. She also tried to connect the Trump administration to “white supremacist groups.” She condemned the resolution as “giving comfort to hate groups.”

“Now, Trump and the GOP are doubling down with QAnon and partnering with hate groups that are seeking to muzzle anyone who stands in their way of furthering their agenda and hurting communities that we care about,” Huang concluded. “But we’re not going to back down from calling out white supremacists and hate groups or pushing back against their dehumanizing rhetoric.”

Huang also slammed One America News Network’s Jack Posobiec, claiming he “is aligned with white supremacy and has used his platform to further hate speech and propaganda.”

Posobiec responded to this attack in a statement to PJ Media.

“The SPLC targets conservative organizations for mass shooters like the Christian Family Research Council. The only thing I’m associated with is belief in Jesus Christ as a Catholic,” Posobiec said. “We believe in the immortal soul, which has no race. In fact, I fought hard to push racists out of the MAGA movement in 2016 and 2017. I see Anti-Semites are all endorsing Joe Biden now. I can’t wait to see the DNC ad with Richard Spencer, Farrakhan, and Linda Sarsour.”

While the SPLC has marked Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam a “hate group,” it has carried water for antifa, even going so far as to condemn Trump’s “domestic terrorism” designation of antifa.

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The SPLC’s scandals

While Posobiec and the RNC rightly noted the SPLC’s far-left partisan smears, the organization has also recently been plagued by scandal. As I reported both here at PJ Media and in my book Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the SPLC fired its co-founder, Morris Dees, amid a decades-long sexual harassment and racial discrimination scandal last year. The SPLC promised an internal investigation, but has yet to release the results. After Dees was fired, former employees came forward, admitting their complicity in the “con.”

The SPLC’s “hate group” list exaggerates the number of “hate groups” by listing defunct or essentially non-existent groups along with the KKK, and it tars the reputations of law-abiding mainstream conservative and Christian organizations like the Family Research Council (FRC), Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), ACT for America, and the Center for Security Policy.

The SPLC silences conservative groups using “guilt by association,” equating mainstream conservative and Christian groups with true hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. In January, the SPLC testified before Congress that its number of “hate groups” is a statistically significant measure of the increasing threat of white supremacist terrorism, and used that number as an argument for Big Tech censorship. When Huang’s statement mentioned “white supremacists and hate groups” in the same breath, she was using the SPLC’s trademark smear tactic to suggest that every accused “hate group” is as noxious as the KKK.

As the RNC noted, the “hate group” accusation inspired an attempted terrorist attack at FRC, a conservative Christian nonprofit advocacy group in Washington, D.C. In 2012, a deranged man targeted the FRC headquarters, aiming to shoot everyone in the building. He told the FBI he targeted FRC because it was on the SPLC “hate group” list. While the SPLC condemned the attempted terrorist attack, it continued to brand FRC a “hate group.”

Even left-leaning activists like former ACLU President Nadine Strossen have condemned the accusation against ADF, and the SPLC continues to pad its “hate group” numbers by listing dozens of ACT for America chapters that no longer exist. In 2018, the SPLC paid $3.375 million to settle a defamation lawsuit from Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, whom the SPLC defamed as an “anti-Islamic extremist.” Many others are suing the SPLC — and one Christian nonprofit is suing Amazon for relying on the SPLC to blacklist conservative groups.

Also on Monday, Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, requesting a hearing on Amazon’s SPLC reliance.

Republicans are right to highlight the SPLC’s dangerous smear tactics. Readers seeking more information should check out my book.

Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.

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