Diversity at the SPLC

One would naturally assume that any entity that bills itself as “a leading civil rights organization” in all of its press releases would be one of the most diverse outfits around, right?

A look at the top officers at the Southern Poverty Law Center paints a very different picture. According to pages 11 and 40 of the group’s most recent IRS Form 990, none of the SPLC’s top ten players are minorities.

Name and Compensation

Richard Cohen — President/CEO                                $351,648

Teenie Hutchison — Chief Financial Officer                  $155,144

Joseph Levin — General Counsel                                $191,756

Morris Dees — Chief Trial Counsel                              $346,919

Jeff Blancett — Former Oper. Officer                          $185,305

Rhonda Brownstein — Legal Director                           $179,983

Thomas Brinkman — Security & IT                             $142,359

Wendy Via — Development Director                            $140,469

Mark Potok — Intelligence Director                             $143,206

Mary Bauer — Immigrant Justice Prog.                        $141,111

The Form 990 also includes the names of a few token minorities, such as Julian Bond and David Wang, but they serve only as unpaid “advisers” and have no real responsibility.

Otherwise, it reads like the directory of any New York law firm.

In 1994, the local newspaper, the Montgomery Advertiser, ran a series of articles on the SPLC, including one in which former black employees describe a “plantation mentality” that drove them from the nation’s “leading civil rights group.”

What is left is a decidedly non-diverse team of key players who establish policy and make all of the important decisions. Not very southern and certainly not impoverished.

To paraphrase the late Leona Helmsley, it would seem that SPLC founder Morris Dees believes that diversity, like paying taxes, “is for the little people…”

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