Should the SPLC Be Tax-Exempt?

Sen. Tom Cotton has asked the IRS to investigate its "defamation of political opponents."

Nate Jackson · Apr. 4, 2019

The Southern Poverty Law Center has had a bad couple of weeks, with the ousting of cofounder Morris Dees and resignation of President and cofounder Richard Cohen. Now Sen. Tom Cotton has asked the IRS to review the group’s tax-exempt status.

The IRS, says Cotton in a letter, should investigate to determine whether the SPLC “should retain its classification as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization” given the “long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents.”

He continues, “The business model has paid well. The SPLC has accrued more than $500 million in assets. According to the group’s most recent financial statement, it holds $121 million offshore in non-U.S. equity funds. The SPLC uses these assets to pay its executives lavish salaries far higher than the comparable household average.” Dees was earning being paid $400,000 a year before his firing.

Moreover, Cotton says, “Based on [news] reports [of a pervasive racism culture], and in the interest of protecting taxpayer dollars from a racist and sexist slush fund devoted to defamation, I believe that the SPLC’s conduct warrants a serious and thorough investigation.”

Indeed, it’s no wonder Charity Watch gives SPLC an “F” rating.

Later explaining his letter, Cotton added, “Serial, repeated defamation against your political opponents is not a tax-exempt purpose. … Southern Poverty Law Center has become nothing but a racket that’s designed solely to slander and defame its political opponents.”

Three cheers for Cotton’s effort. It’s about time the SPLC was rebuffed in its serial defamation, and that the Leftmedia was taken to the woodshed for continuing to peddle its hate as “nonpartisan” and authoritative.

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