Southern Poverty Law Center under fire; founder fired amid racist accusations and reports of massive offshore assets

(Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images for Discovery Communications)

The left-wing non-profit civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center fired co-founder and former chief litigator Morris Dees for misconduct.

And given SPLC’s reputation for targeting conservative and Christian organizations as hate groups, which becomes a go-to reference point for the liberal media, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee took to Twitter to gloat.

Huckabee, a Southern Baptist pastor for 12 years, said Dees was fired for “racism” in a tweet that denounced SPLC as a “sham group.”

“The sham group, Southern Poverty Law Center, amassed over $500 Million in cash (offshore accounts) but a front for uber-liberal political causes while smearing Christian conservatives. Its founder just fired–accused of…wait for it-racism,” he tweeted, linking to an article from the Alabama newspaper Montgomery Advertiser.

As for claims of racism, this is apparently nothing new as the paper referenced a 1994 series it did on SPLC, where staffers “accused Morris Dees, the center’s driving force, of being a racist and black employees have ‘felt threatened and banded together.’”

The Advertiser also reported that according to 2017 tax documents publicly available, the organization had nearly $450 million in net assets — the Washington Free Beacon reported in June 2018 that financial statements showed SPLC had $92 million in offshore investment funds.

SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement Dees’ dismissal was effective on Wednesday, March 13, but declined to elaborate on the reason.

“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 release. “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, didn’t offer any clues about why he was dismissed.

“It was not my decision, what they did,” he told The Advertiser. “I wish the center the absolute best. Whatever reasons they had of theirs, I don’t know.”

As for Huckabee’s claim of racism being the reason Dees was fired, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that SPLC “has been has been wrestling with complaints of workplace mistreatment of women and people of color.”

While noting that it wasn’t clear if those issues were connected to the firing of Dees, the paper said employees sent a letter to the predominantly white leadership calling for reforms — this coming after a highly respected black attorney at the organization resigned last week, criticizing the organization’s work culture.

The letter signed by about two dozen employees said “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it,” according to The Times.

Cohen announced that an outside organization would be brought in “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.”

It would appear that some of the time SPLC dedicated to targeting Christians for their beliefs could have been better directed looking for hatred within its own walls.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses from Twitter:


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