SPLC — Where the Money Goes

According to financial documents posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s web site, the SPLC reported revenues of $31,046,000 for 2009. (All figures rounded to the nearest thousand dollars)

Of that total, more than $27 million came in the form of individual donations, mostly from elderly donors who have given to the SPLC for years. Since the SPLC is required by law to disclose its financial data, in order to keep its tax-exempt status, it might be interesting to see just where Grandma’s $100 dollar donation check really goes.                        (Left-click the chart for a larger image)


The numbers break down something like this:

$40 dollars go toward SPLC salaries

$15 dollars go toward fund-raising printing and postage costs

$10 dollars go toward the publication of “educational” materials (to be sold to local schools)

$3 dollars go to utilities, telephones, maintenance, etc.

$28 dollars go toward various and sundry expenses, such as travel costs, office supplies, “staff development,” etc.

And after all is said and done, about $4 dollars of Grandma’s $100 dollar donation, ($3.70 actually), goes toward “legal case expenses.”

(In 2008, the SPLC actually spent more on office supplies than on “legal case expenses.”)

Call me a skeptic, (and die-hard fans of the SPLC have called me much worse than that…), but shouldn’t the core business of a civil rights law center revolve around legal cases?

When tens of thousands of blue-haired Grannies send their $100 dollar checks to the SPLC, aren’t they doing so with the expectation that their hard-earned money will go toward “fighting hate” in the courts?

Do they even suspect that $15 dollars worth of that check is going to be used to ask them for the next $100 dollar check?

Do they get that same warm, fuzzy feeling over the thought that their contribution might pay for a laser jet ink cartridge, maybe two cases of printer paper, or roughly 40 minutes of SPLC founder, millionaire Morris Dees’ hourly salary?

The SPLC claims in its annual report that it “spent approximately 68% of its revenues on program expenses.” How this is possible when salaries and fund-raising costs alone eat up 55% of the budget is a mystery to me, but I guess a lot depends on one’s definition of “program expenses.”

As mentioned, a lot of people get upset when I quote the SPLC’s own financial data, but I’ve yet to find anyone who can claim that 3.7 cents on the donor-dollar is a good return on investment.

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4 Responses to “SPLC — Where the Money Goes”

  1. zachriel2 Says:

    rkeefe57: Call me a skeptic, (and die-hard fans of the SPLC have called me much worse than that…), but shouldn’t the core business of a civil rights law center revolve around legal cases?

    Much of the money goes to pay the lawyers, so it does “revolve around legal cases.” Considering the number of successful lawsuits over the last forty years, they have apparently done their job.

    Might be a good time to make a donation. Thanks for the reminder.

    • rkeefe57 Says:

      Zach, today would be a FINE day to make a donation to the SPLC. May I respectfully suggest that you double, or even triple your usual gift? Morris Dees has siphoned more money from “Progressive” causes through his abortive liberal fundraisers, (McGovern, Ted Kennedy, Gary Hart, Mike Dukakis); millions upon millions of dollars that might have gone to genuine liberal candidates.

      Of course, Uncle Mo never works for free. In every case he exchanged his “free fund-raising expertise” for the liberal candidate’s mailing lists, which he promptly turned over to his SPLC fund-raising department. Think about it, Zach, the only time Mo Dees ever backed a winner was with Jimmy Carter’s first run, and Carter was running against hapless Jerry “I Pardoned Nixon” Ford, and even that was a squeaker. Even then, Dees bailed out on Carter in his re-election bid to support Ted Kennedy.

      Dees claimed he worked for free, but every single time, Uncle Mo walked away with each candidate’s private mailing lists, containing hundreds of thousands of names and addresses of self-described liberals. Money in the bank for the SPLC.

      And speaking of the lawyer’s fees, did you ever take a real look at the SPLC’s docket? http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/case-docket

      Roughly 5 to 6 cases a year, and most of those were either suing poor school districts or suing on behalf of illegal aliens. These are your heroes? THIS is worth $12 million a year?

      Morris Dees, Joe Levin and Jack Cohen all made their first millions back in the 60s. Forty-odd years later and these “civil rights icons” still need to split the first million donor dollars that come into the SPLC coffers each year between them?

      THESE are your heroes? Is there not one pro bono bone in any of their bodies?

      Say, Zach, did you realize that your hero, Morris Dees, charges $10,000 a pop for his frequent speaking tours? You wouldn’t know it from the SPLC’s financial data, because that money never turns up there for some reason.

      Last year, Millionaire Mo agreed to speak before a black civil rights group in Muskegon, Michigan in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. Dees agreed, the group designed a celebration around the “civil rights icon” and his speech, but when they couldn’t raise The Icon’s $10,000 dollar speaking fee, the Great Humanitarian backed out and left them flat. Morris Dees, who made his first million in 1964, and whose SPLC “Poverty Palace” is literally located in the backyard of MLK’s own Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, couldn’t even throw a black civil rights group a freebie in honor of Dr. King. http://www.mlive.com/news/chronicle/index.ssf?/base/news-15/1231154119210980.xml&coll=8

      THIS is your hero?

  2. Donald Says:

    SPLC has set race relations back 50 years. Evidently lefty loon lawyers are willing to work for peanuts so Morris and he white pals can pocket big pay checks.

  3. Daily Pundit » No Poverty at SPLC Says:

    [...] the Watchdogs. A more diverse group you couldn’t find outside a Klan meeting. They spend a whole 4% of income on legal cases. Just in case you wondered where the rest went. (2009 figures). One does [...]

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