Archive for July, 2011

Is the SPLC violating its tax-exempt status?

July 16, 2011

Online news sources and the Blogosphere have been touting another SPLC “report” recently. As usual, most of these sources simply regurgitate SPLC fund-raising propaganda without even bothering to look at the numbers.

Electoral Extremism: 23 Candidates on the Radical Right purports to identify 23 evil racists who were trying to spread their particular brands of “hate” via the ballot box in 2010. The SPLC trots out the usual epithets to describe these heinous characters; everything from “anti-immigration” to “Neo-Confederate,” (whatever that means), to Rand Paul’s crime against humanity… “Right-wing Libertarian.”

As usual, the thrust of the SPLC’s hit piece is to scare the Old Folks into believing that Armageddon is right around the corner and only their generous checks stand between them and the Forces of Evil.

No matter that all of these candidates, (with the possible exception of ex-con Tom Metzger) have every legal right to run for any office they choose, regardless of what their viewpoints are. The SPLC, which claims to be the guardian of justice, isn’t real big on the Democratic process unless it happens to be processing a Democrat.

A key example: On July 5, the Blogosphere reported that former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke was considering another run for the White House, leading an unnamed SPLC spokeswonk to comment: ” “We’ve seen increasing numbers of white supremacists and others on the radical right running for electoral office for several years now.”

Oddly enough, in March of this year, former KKK Grand Dragon John Paul Rogers ran for Mayor of Lake Wales, Florida, yet the SPLC had no comment on his candidacy. In fact, even though Rogers served as Grand Dragon of the United Klans of America, the very group that SPLC founder Morris Dees “brought to its knees” by taking away its $52,000 barn, you won’t find Rogers’ name on the SPLC web site.

Why not? Because Grand Dragon Rogers ran as a DEMOCRAT…

After all, the SPLC states that “Hate group activities can include…  marches, rallies, speeches, meetings, leafleting or publishing,” which are the keystones to the entire US election process for candidates of ALL political parties.

A closer look at the “radical” roster shows just how close the Land of the Free came to succumbing to the forces of evil.

Jeffrey Stankiewicz: 654 votes

Ryan J. Murdough:  297 votes

Billy Roper: 49 votes

Tom Metzger: 10 votes

Frazier G. Miller: 7 votes

And even Norm Olson, who withdrew before the election, thus garnering ZERO votes, is lumped in to help pad out the numbers.

Overall, 43% of the candidates failed to break into double-digit territory as a percentage of the votes cast, and four of them didn’t even break the single digit barrier. Some threat to Democracy, no?

Now this kind of baseless fear-mongering is the SPLC’s stock and trade. It’s the kind of demi-lie that convinces tens of thousands of people to send in tens of millions of tax-free donor-dollars, so this is no surprise. But the SPLC’s latest plunge into political waters raises some interesting questions.

On September 28, 1971, Morris Dees’ newborn “civil rights organization” received a special document, literally, a “golden ticket.” It was on that date that the IRS issued Millionaire Mo with his 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. It is this innocuous scrap of paper that has allowed the SPLC to amass hundreds of millions of dollars without paying a single dime in taxes.

Now there’s always a catch, even with golden tickets, and for the 501(c)(3) the IRS stipulates that:

“For an organization to be tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) it cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office.”

“The regulations provide that activities that constitute participation or intervention in a political campaign include, but are not limited to, the publication or distribution of written or printed statements or the making of oral statements on behalf of or in opposition to a candidate for public office. Reg. 1.501(c)(3)-1(c)(3)(iii).”

“Basically, a finding of campaign intervention in an issue advertisement requires more than just a positive or negative correspondence between an organization’s position and a candidate’s position. What is required is that there must be some reasonably overt indication in the communication to the reader, viewer, or listener that the organization supports or opposes a particular candidate (or slate of candidates) in an election; rather than being a message restricted to an issue.”

The SPLC’s rant against these candidates has nothing to do with any stated issues. Rather, just as with the SPLC’s designation of the meaningless “hate group” smear, the SPLC’s problem with these “…extremists, radicals and dangerous ideologues…” is simply that these people have wrong thoughts.

This is a blatant violation of the IRS rules governing 501 (30)(c) tax-exempt organizations and Watching the Watchdogs is taking the issue directly to the IRS and asking for a ruling.

Remember… It wasn’t the FBI that took down Al Capone… It was the IRS.

Popping the tax-exempt status on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s bloated $216 MILLION dollar cash cow would go a long way to relieve a lot of poverty.

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