Posts Tagged ‘fundraising’

Charity Navigator: SPLC Donations for 2017 Could Reach One Billion Dollars

December 28, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center won’t release its annual IRS Form 990 tax return until February, but preliminary reports indicate that 2017 donations could approach ONE BILLION DOLLARS.

Charity Navigator, a nationally respected rating service of non-profit organizations, noted last April that donations to the SPLC during the first 100 days of the Trump Administration, from January 20 to April 20, 2017 were up by 1,400%.

Charity Navigator, First 100 Days

Source: Charity Navigator

While we do not have the actual figures for that period, the SPLC’s current Form 990 indicates that the company received just over $50 million in donations for FY 2016, which would average out to $12.5 million a quarter.

Math was never our strong suit, we freely admit, but if our back-of-the-envelope calculations are correct, a 1,400% increase on $12.5 million would come to a staggering $187,500,000 for a single quarter alone.

If there are any mathematicians in the house, or functional numerates of any kind, please speak up if these numbers are off in any way.

IF the figures above are accurate, and we multiply them by four to get a total for a full fiscal year, we come up with a nice, round $750,000,000 overall. That’s three-quarters of a billion dollars to you and me.

Keep in mind that total SPLC receipts from 2001 to 2016 “only” add up to around $624 million COMBINED and you can start to comprehend the magnitude of this statistic.

SPLC profits 2001 to 2016

And these numbers only reflect the increase on an average SPLC fiscal quarter. Charity Navigator’s estimate only extends to April, 2017, and while the country experienced numerous political and social events during the year, both Trump- and non-Trump-related, the real floodgates to SPLC donations opened in August, following the infamous Charlottesville riots.

At that time, major corporations, artists and celebrities threw millions at the SPLC in ham-fisted attempts to out-virtue signal each other as to who really hated “hate” more, and that does not include the uncounted number of individual donors who followed suit.

The SPLC makes it so easy to strike a pose and assuage your white guilt: just write a check.

And, as we noted at the time, it only took the SPLC two weeks to figure out how to cash in on the death of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville by slapping her photo on their unscrupulous “Wall of Tolerance” fundraising tool.

We won’t have any idea of the actual magnitude of money that changed hands until next February, but as the SPLC’s fiscal year closes on October 31 each year, it is reasonable to predict that the final quarter of August through October will show an increase far in excess of a mere 1,400%.

The good news is that with a billion dollars in cash coming in, the SPLC can finally retire from the odious fundraising business and live off the interest. Granted, that could put hundreds of SPLC employees out of work, but with the nation’s most profitable non-profit on their resumés, it won’t be long before they are snapped up by other hopeful contenders for the title.

You read it here first, folks.

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SPLC profits from “I Am So Sick of White Guys” coloring book

December 23, 2017

As we have noted uncounted times on this blog, there is no legal or even standard definition for a “hate group.” Even the Southern Poverty Law Center, a company that rakes in hundreds of millions of dollars by selling “hate groups” to Progressives, does not have an actual definition for the term.

Instead, the company cooked up a non-definition that is so broad that anyone could figure out some way to apply it to just about any group they wanted. According to the experts at the SPLC:

“All hate groups have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

If those are the SPLC’s only criteria, “attacking or maligning an entire class of people,” then does it strike anyone else as odd that “the nation’s leading civil rights organization,” (at least when it was still in the civil rights business several years ago) is accepting a cash percentage from the sales of something called the “I Am So Sick of White Guys” coloring book?

 

Sick-of-White-Guys-book

 

“Relax,” say the authors. This isn’t maligning an entire class of people… it’s satire! Get it?

Sure we get it. Try swapping out the descriptor “White” from the title with any other color/ethnicity in the Diversity Rainbow and see how much fun it is. Change “Guys” to “Gals” (Chicks dig it when you call them “gals,” btw) and watch the Feminist fur fly. Try it at home, “I’m so sick of One-legged, African-American LGBTQRSTUV Activists!.” Why, the variations just write themselves. No “hate” here, after all. It’s satire, fer cryin’ out loud!

As the co-authors, who are both evil white guys themselves, remind us “Be open to hearing other perspectives or opinion. And don’t be so defensive.” Spoken like true Progressives. Say anything you please, as long as we permit it.

Want to have a real hoot? Swap out the picture of Putin with one of George Soros holding the strings. The Anti-Defamation League, which does not have a good track record with satire, will be all over you like the yellow-tooth stink on an Antifa bandana. There’s too much money at stake, don’t you know?

And speaking of money, catch the note at the very bottom of the cover stating that ten percent of this ten-dollar treasure will be donated to the SPLC. Thank heavens for that. According to this year’s online tax records, the company came into 2017 with less than $320 million in tax-free, unrestricted cash-on-hand. This boon could be a game changer.

Or could it? Let’s say they can sell 100,000 copies of this adult coloring book. The $10 grand sent to the SPLC would barely buy a single hour of Millionaire Morris Dees’ frequent speaker’s “honoraria,” and only then if your group wasn’t composed of evil white males. Otherwise, “No dough? No Mo.”

Let’s be optimistic, though. As the SPLC well knows, there are millions of people out there who are really, really sick of white males. Let’s say these guys manage to sell ONE MILLION COPIES of their magnum opus. That’s $100,000 to the cash-strapped SPLC, a whole lot of moolah in anybody’s book.

Well, in anybody’s book except the SPLC’s bookkeeper’s book. Last year the SPLC paid third-party telemarketers $2,266,887 donor-dollars to raise only $1,271,287 donor-dollars, for a net loss of $955,600. A lousy hundred grand wouldn’t even scratch the surface of such an incredible deficit. Instead, the SPLC will simply redirect the donations of everyone who gave through the telemarketers, as well as another 10,000 to 40,000 rank-and-file loyal SPLC donors.

At the end of the day, what we have here is a perfect example of “virtue signalling.” The authors are merely piling on to a bandwagon that has seen celebrities and major corporations demonstrating how much they hate “hate” by simply sending a check to the SPLC, and that doesn’t include the millions of new individual donors the company will pick up this year. That’s all you have to do. Send a little cash to a company that already has more money than it will ever spend and you can sleep the sleep of the Righteous.

Too bad so much of that money will go to pay the telemarketers and the six-digit salaries of the SPLC’s all-white Executive Suite. No matter. “Hate” was fought, after all.

The SPLC has no problem whatsoever if you want to bash white males (as long as they are not gay, Jewish, or one of the other more recent protected status groups) as long as you a) fig-leaf it as satire (“Can’t you take a joke?”), and b) cut the SPLC in for a slice of the pie. No hypocrisy here. Move along.

Don’t take our word for it. Go the company’s website and search “coloring book” and see if you can find anything that says “The SPLC refuses to accept money from a group that attacks or maligns an entire class of people.”

That would be bad for business.

“The SPLC is Lying to Us”

December 3, 2017

We came across this excellent YouTube video not long ago. The video’s creator, who identifies herself as Annette Rivers and an experienced fact checker, uses great imagery and well reasoned dialog to expose how the Southern Poverty Law Center (and by extension, other major Hate Industry players) manipulates the “facts” for fundraising purposes.

Ms. Rivers manages to sum up in nine minutes what we at Watching the Watchdogs have been trying to explain for nine years.

Thank you, Ms. Rivers, for showing us how fact checking should be done in the 21st century. Well done!

The SPLC and the DACA Opportunity

November 12, 2017

For the past several months, the Southern Poverty Law Center has been issuing a steady stream of hand-wringing rhetoric over the uncertain fate of hundreds of thousands of migrants who were brought to the US illegally as children by their parents.

Under the Obama Administration, a program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) would allow the illegals to stay in the country and obtain temporary work permits. To date, there are about 800,000 migrants enrolled in the program, known collectively as “Dreamers,” in reference to the legislation that created the DACA program, the so-called “DREAM Act.”

The Trump Administration has repealed DACA and the enrollees are currently facing the possibility of deportation to their home countries. Naturally, the fundraisers at the SPLC recognize this situation as a prime money-making opportunity and they have been producing a steady stream of emotionally charged rhetoric aimed at their largely-Progressive donor base.

We believe that not only does this situation represent a huge opportunity FOR the the Dreamers and their families, but that the SPLC is uniquely situated to make the transition a success beyond comprehension… if it chose to help.

  1. The first and most important thing to remember is that there are very few actual children among the Dreamers. While brought to this country illegally as children, only 2.5% of the group are between the ages of 15 and 18. The vast majority of Dreamers are between the ages of 20 and 35. One cannot even apply for DACA deferment before the age of 15.

    Heart-rending SPLC fundraising rhetoric of infants being torn from their mother’s bosom are highly exaggerated for emotional impact. It would a simple enough remedy to extend deferment to the youngest cohort until the age of 18.

  2. Another of the requirements for DACA eligibility is an education. A high school diploma or GED is mandatory, and many of the Dreamers have college degrees.

    In fact, the SPLC and other illegal immigration advocates make great political hay by claiming that most of the biggest tech companies created in the 21st century were founded by immigrants. Not “illegal” immigrants, mind you, but pointing out that minor detail is “racist.”

  3. Nearly 80% of the Dreamers are Mexican citizens, some 632,000 in all. Just imagine the effect of returning more than half a million educated, entrepreneurial young adults to that country’s economy. The Mexican government has and has announced that it will welcome the Dreamers home “with open arms!

    According to the LA Times, Mexico’s foreign secretary, Luis Videgaray stated:

    “I don’t know of any country that is willing to ship doctors, accountants, lawyers to another country,” Mexico’s foreign secretary Luis Videgaray told The Times in an interview Tuesday. “That’s just a transfer of human capital. That would be a big win for Mexico to have these young kids that are law abiding, creative, full of energy and well trained. All of them have a high school diploma. And the majority of them are college educated. It would be a big loss to the U.S., to the U.S. economy in particular.”

    “It’s very appealing to have college educated, English-speaking people and many companies in Mexico are looking for that profile of people,” Videgaray said.”

  4. The SPLC and other illegal immigrant advocates are forever touting the need to “bring the illegals out of the shadows.” Mexican DACA enrollees are FULL CITIZENS OF MEXICO. You cannot get much further out of the shadows than that.

    Again, far from being a human tragedy, the DACA situation has all of the makings of a huge opportunity.

So what can the SPLC and other illegal immigration advocates do to help? They can do what they do best: Raise money.

The SPLC currently has $319 million in unrestricted cash-on-hand, and with all of the publicity and donations the company received in FY 2017 there is no telling how much their Endowment Fund will balloon to in February’s tax form releases. But for our purposes, let’s stick with the numbers we have.

  1. What if the SPLC were to donate one third of its bloated endowment fund to resettling the DACA Dreamers? A hundred million will go a lot further in sunny Mexico than it will in the US.Part of that money could go toward resettling the young folks in their old home towns. We know that most have family back in Mexico, because their parents have been sending billions of dollars back home for decades. That’s pretty much the whole point of illegal immigration in the first place.
  2. If the Dreamers are anywhere near as entrepreneurial as the SPLC and other advocates claim, they will be setting up new businesses in thousands of towns and cities across Mexico in no time. In fact, with a US education and an acquired American consumer lifestyle, these people will be creating a huge demand for goods and services in their own home towns.

    Business is liable to be so good that the kids can send for their folks in the US, bringing them “out of the shadows” once and for all.

  3. Since many of the Dreamers are college educated, the SPLC could go one step beyond by endowing the creation of Dreamer business parks, where the bright minds can work together, as on a college campus, or at many high-tech firms in Silicon Valley.

    While the SPLC’s $100 million donation would be great seed money, the company could easily create crowdfunding sites, such as with GoFundMe, where well-meaning Progressives could donate money to the cause, thereby actually DOING something to help the Dreamers besides raging at Donald Trump.

    If there is anything the SPLC knows how to do, it’s raising cash. It only took the company five years to raise that last $100 million. With the huge publicity wave it is riding this year, the next hundred million should accrue in a fraction of that time.

    The SPLC’s public relations machinery is second to none in the non-profit industry. The company has been hiring PR types and fundraisers for over a decade. Headcount at the company has grown from 206 in 2009 to 291 in 2016, and since there hasn’t been a corresponding 41% jump in the number of court cases, these new faces most likely aren’t all lawyers.

    The company will be safe enough with a $200 million cushion in the meantime, and the Dreamers will have the opportunity to completely transform the Mexican economy.

  4. Many of the Dreamers’ parents came to this country poor, illiterate and knowing very little English. While it is possible that some of the Dreamers grew up in an immigrant environment without picking up a single word of their mother tongue, the odds are that these legal immigrants will have a much easier time of adjusting to repatriation.

    The SPLC loves to lament that “Many Dreamers don’t even know their home countries any more.” Well, their parents made the trip to a foreign culture in an unknown land with far fewer advantages and they managed to survive.

    Imagine how much easier the SPLC and the donors could make the transition back home!

So there it is, in a nutshell. Granted, it’s a back-of-the-envelope proposition at the moment, but it undoubtedly has the potential to turn an unhappy situation into a win-win opportunity for all involved.

What do you say, SPLC? Will you embrace this opportunity to make a real difference in thousands, and ultimately millions, of lives? Donating a third of your unprecedented endowment fund will in no way jeopardize the solvency of your company, and you’ll make it all back, and more, within a few short years.

It would sure silence a lot of your critics…

Will you turn your giant fundraising machinery toward a project that will change so many lives, one that will undercut so many of the foundations propping up illegal immigration in the first place? Will you take the lead in giving donors the opportunity to do some real good with their money, rather than paying the six-digit salaries of your all-white Executive Suite and your third-party telemarketers?

Think of the legacy it would create for SPLC Founder Morris Dees. Unlike his past achievements, this one would be beyond criticism. It’s pure Teflon.

Or, will you continue to beat the drums against Trump, that lowest of low-hanging fundraising fruit, because it is guaranteed to rile your Progressive donor base? Will you continue the relentless “hate group” fearmongering campaigns because they reliably bring in the dough?

This is an unprecedented opportunity for the Dreamers, for Mexico and for millions of illegal aliens “hiding in the shadows” in the USA. Your leadership, your largess, would be a game-changer. You could take the lead and make a real difference in the world.

And if nothing else, can you think of a better way to embarrass Donald Trump? Your donors will love it.

 

Challenge Your Area’s SPLC “Hate Group” Designation

September 11, 2017

Two recent news events have brilliantly demonstrated just how unreliable and deceptive the Southern Poverty Law Center’s lucrative “Hate Map” really is. The SPLC releases this annual fundraising tool every February or March, to enormous media fanfare and the donor-dollars flow faster than the company can spend them.

Two small towns that were falsely smeared with “hate group” designations, Amana, Iowa, and Gurnee, Illinois, recently fought back and got the SPLC to rescind its spurious claims, though with very different results.

In the Amana case, the “town” is actually a collection of seven small villages known as the Amana Colonies. These villages were settled by German farmers in the 19th century and today the Colonies are on the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. People take their families there to see the old farms, blacksmith shop and grist mill. Think: Colonial Williamsburg or Plimoth Plantation.

So how does a tourist destination like Amana get listed on the “Hate Map”? Simplicity itself. Someone at the SPLC found a single troll posting on the Daily Stormer website saying that several neo-Nazis got together on a single afternoon in an Amana coffee shop as a “book club” and they haven’t been back since.

There’s no indication of how many people actually showed up at the coffee shop, but the SPLC’s definition of “group” can mean one or fewer individuals.

Amana officials fought back, demanding that the SPLC’s new PR Guru, Ryan Lenz, remove the phony “hate group” designation from their town. Lenz, who replaces veteran SPLC “Former Employee” Mark Potok, initially refused. A local TV news team, KCRG out of Cedar Rapids, did the unthinkable and followed up on Amana’s complaint. You can see the report here (after a 30-second ad spot). On August 28, Lenz and the SPLC eventually relented and agreed to remove the hate group designation… sort of.

What Lenz did was to simply relocate the alleged Daily Stormer site from Amana to “Statewide.” “Statewide” is where the SPLC puts “groups” they cannot locate on any map, including their own. There are currently 191 “Statewide” groups on the most recent “Hate Map,” or nearly one-in-four. The SPLC provides no information whatsoever about the alleged groups and the media say “sounds good to us.”

Iowa still has four “hate groups,” (three of which are now “Statewide”), and the national “hate group” count remains at 917 for 2016.

In 2011, long before he was unthinkably kicked to the curb, we had the opportunity to ask Mark Potok directly about these phantom “groups.” At that time, Potok could not account for 262 of his 1,002 alleged groups, and though a small number of them were marked “Statewide” on the map, the vast majority were simply empty slots with no location whatsoever, other than a particular state.

After acknowledging that the question “was not illegitimate,” Mr. Potok sputtered along, making several astounding admissions, such as the “Hate Map” was based largely on anecdotal reports, was “… a very rough measure,” and “an imperfect process,” which is hardly the impression the SPLC gives in its annual “Hate Map” press releases.

In the end, Potok stated, “What those basically are, those are state-wide units… that’s what those groups are…” And with that, the interview was pretty much ended, but it confirmed Potok’s high standards for inclusion on the lucrative “Hate Map.”

On March 25, 2009, Potok had told the San Luis Obispo (CA) Tribune that “…inclusion on the [hate group] list might come from a minor presence, such as a post office box.”

On July 6, 2009, Potok told the Appleton (WI) Post-Crescent that, “…the [hate group] report relies on media, citizen and law enforcement reports, and does not include original reporting by SPLC staff.”

With such high standards and scrupulous research methods as that, it is a wonder that any “hate group” could wind up on the “Hate Map” in error, but this year it happened, twice. Or not.

The second location to fight back against the “hate group” smear was the village of Gurnee, Illinois. On September 8, 2017, the local paper, the Lake County News-Sun reported that:

“Gurnee police and village officials said they have been told by the law center that the village was included after the center found that someone who listed his address as Gurnee had registered on a KKK website.

Gurnee police said an investigation into the name concluded there is no record of anyone by that name having been a Gurnee resident.”

Once again we see how the SPLC spins any microscopic link it can scrape up into a full-fledged “group.” And despite being contacted by the mayor and local police on the scene, the SPLC made the demonstrably false claim that:

“Nonetheless, officials said they were told by a representative of the Law Center that they only review and revise the map once a year, and it will be reviewed again in January.”

It was less than two weeks earlier that the SPLC actually DID revise it’s “Hate Map” tool for Amana, sort of, so why won’t the company do the same for Gurnee? The simple fact of the matter is that they can’t.

The annual “Hate Map” is a fundraising tool, and, as shown above, has very little connection with reality (Mr. Potok’s “very rough measure”). Each winter the six-digit-salary executives at the SPLC come up with a “hate group” count upon which they will build all media and fundraising claims for the following year. Once a number is fixed, someone like Mark Potok or Ryan Lenz will get busy finding enough “groups” to match the prescribed quantity.

As we have noted in the past, the SPLC’s “Hate Map” tool is static. You can move a few deckchairs around, as they did with Amana, but you cannot change the magic number. As we pointed out in August, 2016, even though the SPLC announced that the rag-tag group “White Lives Matter” posed an immediate existential threat, they would not add them to the “Hate Map” for another six months.

(The company eventually conjured up three “White Lives Matters” “groups” for the 2017 map, all of which are… “Statewide.”)

In an age where any elementary school child can update a website in seconds, this makes no sense whatsoever, unless the “Hate Map” is a sham.

While Mr. Lenz can hide nearly 200 “groups” under the “Statewide” label, in the Gurnee case, he assigned a chapter of the Ku Klos Knights of the KKK to that location in addition to a second, “Statewide” iteration of the group to Illinois overall.

Even by SPLC standards, having two “Statewide” entries for the same “group” in the same state stretches credulity. Therefore, the village of Gurnee is stuck with it’s “hate group” until next year.

This brings us back to the point of of this post. The mayor of Gurnee is rightfully dissatisfied with the SPLC’s “tough luck” reply: “We’re going to continue to pursue it,” Gurnee Mayor Kristina Kovarik said. “There is no reason to shame a whole community like that for no reason.”

Mayor Kovarik is completely in the right. There is no reason why any community or state should have to suffer the SPLC’s spurious “hate group” fundraising label. It unfairly smears the entire community based on nothing tangible whatsoever. The elected officials of Gurnee, Amana and every other locality falsely smeared have the reputation of their towns to protect and need to stand up against these unsubstantiated claims.

“Statewide,” governors, state and federal Senate and House members have the same, if not greater obligation to call out the SPLC and demand evidence. Serious claims require serious proof.

In 2015 the SPLC assigned 40 “hate groups” to New Jersey, (a state that doesn’t get enough negative publicity as it is…), giving that state the fourth highest total in the land and causing Mark Pitcavage of the Anti-Defamation League to publicly denounce the SPLC’s bogus counts.

“According to Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the SPLC has a habit of counting single individuals as groups or chapters, which can give a skewed impression of hate groups in any given state.”

“The Southern Poverty Law Center’s list is wildly inflated,” said Pitcavage. “They list skinhead groups in places where there are no organized groups, but instead it’s just a couple of individuals.”

After being publicly outed by the ADL, the SPLC slashed New Jersey’s count from 40 to 21 on the next “Hate Map,” which was not issued until a full fundraising year later.

If the ADL can call the SPLC out for its “wildly inflated” “Hate Map,” so can local, state and federal representatives. Millions of people swallow the SPLC’s annual “hate group” numbers each year and few in the media will challenge the claims.

Huge corporations like Apple and Google are already making business decisions based on these bogus numbers. What legitimate company would build a new plant in a state with record numbers of “hate groups”? Why would skilled workers move their families to such “hate-ridden” states to work there?

While the SPLC rakes in tens of millions of dollars each year from its fraudulent “Hate Map,” the consequences for local and state economies could run into the billions.

Hold the SPLC responsible for its claims. Demand to see the proof.

 

SPLC — Cashing in on Charlottesville

August 19, 2017

While the violence and death at last week’s “Unite the Right” riot in Charlottesville, Virginia, was a national tragedy and a source of horror for most Americans, it follows as surely as the night follows day that the Southern Poverty Law Center would find a way to make money off it.

It was only a few weeks ago, in June, when the SPLC was writhing under some of the most negative media coverage it had possibly ever seen, in the wake of the GuideStar debacle. Reliable media allies such as Politico and the Wall Street Journal were openly criticizing GuideStar, a leading rating agency of non-profit organizations, for adding the SPLC’s spurious “hate group” label to dozens of its entries.

[The Politico article is one of the best exposés of the SPLC written in decades and well worth a read.]

Then came Charlottesville. The violent idiots on both sides of the fighting were right out of Central Casting and a godsend for the SPLC. Images of torchlight parades across the University of Virginia campus were tailor-made for the endless barrage of fundraising tweets, press releases, and, no doubt, fundraising letters. The cash has been pouring in ever since. The company will probably have to open several more off-shore bank accounts to house it all.

All of that paled in comparison to the tragedy of Charlottesville resident Heather Heyer’s death after being struck by a car that careered into a crowd on Saturday afternoon. Video footage of the incident gives an impression that the act may possibly have been intentional, and the driver of the car, James Fields, Jr., who was identified marching with white nationalists earlier in the day, is currently being held on charges of second-degree murder and several other counts.

Once Heyer’s name was released on the following day she was immediately canonized by the media and the Left, for their own financial and political purposes, but none of them could hold a candle to the Southern Poverty Law Center when it comes to monetizing murder.

Less than a week after Heyer’s death, the SPLC announced that it was “honoring Heather Heyer at Civil Rights Memorial Center.”

“Like the civil rights martyrs whose names are inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial, Heather took a stand against hate and bigotry and made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lecia Brooks, director of outreach for the SPLC, which built and maintains the memorial.”

Will Heyer’s name be immortalized on the SPLC’s “Martyr’s Monument,” a black granite disc designed by Vietnam Veterans Memorial artist Maya Lin? Well no, that monument cost the perpetually cash-strapped SPLC $5,000,000 in 1989 (nearly $10 million in today’s dollars.)

Instead, the SPLC is going to honor Heyer on its less-static and infinitely more economical “Wall of Tolerance.” Longtime Watching the Watchdogs readers may recall our 2016 investigation of the Wall of Tolerance fundraising scam. We found that, like the lucrative “Stand Strong Against Hate” map scam that preceded it, the Wall of Tolerance was little more than a fundraising tool designed to recruit new donors.

While invoking the names of the “civil rights martyrs,” the Wall of Tolerance scam is built solidly upon the age-old persuasion technique of “reciprocity,” in which an organization sends out free gifts to potential donors in the expectation that the recipients will feel obliged to make a donation. Many readers may remember receiving packs of return address labels from various veteran’s groups. It’s a simple, cost-effective method that has been around for decades.

In the Wall of Tolerance scam, prospective donors receive a suitable-for-framing certificate from the SPLC thanking them for joining the ranks of the civil rights martyrs by supporting the company in its never-ending “fight against hate.” In addition to the certificate, the recipient will be memorialized forever on the “Wall of Tolerance,” a 20-by-40-foot Jumbotron screen at SPLC headquarters, where hundreds of thousands of names drift autumn-leaf-like across the screen “as the gentle rain from heaven.”

Recipients, honored to be included among such auspicious company, feel obligated to send along a little something in appreciation. Others can add their names simply by passing along their personal contact information to the Fundraising Department.

As our report noted, at least one honoree, Marcus Epstein,  had the dual honor of having his own page on the SPLC website that denounced him as a racist. Oops!

SOFII, the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, was hugely impressed by the elegant simplicity of the Wall of Tolerance:

SOFII’s view

The Southern Poverty Law Center, who launched this campaign, is a hugely impressive organisation with a long and well-deserved reputation for effective donor development.

Though we don’t have the results, we think we can presume that this direct mail capital appeal must have worked really very well.

Merits

This is one of the most moving and long-lasting donor involvement campaigns in the USA and represents some of the best that the direct marketer’s art can produce.

It cost the SPLC nothing to add Heather Heyer’s name to the Wall o’ Tolerance Jumbotron but the tax-free donor-dollars will be rolling in by the truckload for weeks and months.

Incidentally, Lecia Brooks, who is quoted above in the Heyer press release, holds two concurrent Directorships at the SPLC. One of the few African-Americans in the SPLC hierarchy, Double-Director Brooks has never been named among the company’s highest paid executives.

One wonders what Heather Heyer would have made of that?

 

SPLC — The “Anti-Muslim” Scam

February 22, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center released its latest “Hate Map” fundraising tool a couple of weeks ago and its “Senior Fellow” Mark Potok has been making the usual media rounds and making the usual empty claims.

The “Hate Map” is a highly lucrative fundraising tool that claims to track the number of SPLC-designated (there is no legal definition for the term) “hate groups” in the country for the previous year. As such, the most recent 2017 map refers to the U.S. in 2016.

Here are some of the highlights from the latest map, according to Mr. Potok:

197-percent-hate-map-_-southern-poverty-law-center

We’ll be breaking down some of the other “hate group” claims in future posts, but let’s have a closer look at the big news for 2017:

“Anti-Muslim Groups have exploded by 197%!!”

Ah, Mr. Potok does love his percent sign. It makes the most mundane figures pop with alarm and that brings in the donor dollars. Mr. Potok has been breathlessly announcing that anti-Muslim groups have “nearly tripled” in the past year, by growing from 34 alleged groups to 101, but shies away from the actual details in his media interviews.

We’re not shy at Watching the Watchdogs. We’ll be happy to flip the flat rock and see what scurries away.

The vast majority of Mr. Potok’s alleged explosion, (69% in Potokian terms) comes from one single source. In 2015, Potok added one single instance of something called “ACT for America,”from Virginia Beach, Va., to his Hate Map.

For 2016, Potok counted ACT 45 times! A Potokian increase of 4,400%!!

The group itself has been around since 2007, though Potok only discovered it in 2015. Even more amazing is that the ACT website boasts of more than 1,000 chapters nationwide. That’s a huge discrepancy that Mr. Potok seems eager to avoid.

Another ten groups arrived for the first time in 2016 in the form of “The Soldiers of Odin,” an apparent American offshoot of a Finnish anti-Muslim outfit founded in 2015. Of the ten chapters claimed by Potok he can only put a known city or town to two. The other 80% is part of the 191 “groups” Mr. Potok cannot locate on any map, including his own. Instead, he papers them over with a catch-all label of “statewide.”

We know all 191 of those groups are really, really out there because Mark Potok tells us so.

Most of the remaining “groups” are a rag-tag collection of one-off, one-man websites, something Potok claims he doesn’t count, except when he does, which is frequently, such as the “Sultan Knish: A blog by Daniel Greenfield” “group,””Islamthreat.com” and a couple of yahoos peddling pork-tainted anti-Muslim ammunition online.

It is with great sadness that we witness the passing of our all time favorite Potokian “hate group,” Casa d’Ice Signs, which was actually an Italian restaurant and bar in a K-Mart strip mall on the outskirts of Pittsburgh.

It’s not that we agreed with the crude messages that owner Bill Balsamico would put on the marquee sign outside his bar each week, but Casa d’Ice was the ultimate poster child for just how far Mr. Potok would go to stretch his definition of “hate group.”

The good news, according to Daniel Greenfield, is that Balsamico sold the business and retired, undefeated.

In all fairness to Mr. Potok, though, he never claimed that Balsamico was guilty of anything but “wrong thoughts.” As the stalwart Senior Fellow has proclaimed on man occasions:

“Our criteria for a hate group, first of all, have nothing to do with criminality, or violence, or any kind of guess we’re making about ‘this group could be dangerous.’ It’s strictly ideological.”

And so, there you have it. The suits at the SPLC decided that anti-Muslim “hate groups” were going to be the featured flavor for 2017 and instructed Mr. Potok to show “explosive growth” thereof for fundraising purposes and overnight one “group” becomes 45.

Some may remember that last year Potok swore that “the Klan had more than doubled in size!!” in 2015 by claiming it had grown from 72 chapter to 190 overnight. Potok failed to mention that he himself had slashed his Klan count from 163 to 72 the year before.

This year, as the graphic above notes, the Invisible Empire shrank by 32% to a mere 130 chapters, 30 of which Potok cannot find. And as usual, nobody in the media called him on it.

The graphic does include one truly astounding number, besides the spurious “197%” malarkey. Mr. Potok claims there are 193 Black “hate groups” in the country today, far outnumbering the KKK and every other category, respectively, and he knows where every one of those chapters are but two.

But that’s a topic for our next post.

SPLC and “Disqualified Persons”

February 12, 2017

Is there a tax doctor in the house? Last week the Southern Poverty Law Center released its IRS Form 990 tax returns for Fiscal Year 2016. The Form 990 is always an informative read because it contains so much useful information.

Page 1, Line 15 notes that the company paid $20,291,678 in “salaries, other compensation, employee benefits,” (11% of which went to the top 9 execs, leaving the other 282 employees to split the rest for an average of $64,000 each.)

We get that. What we don’t get is the entry on Page 10, Line 6 that reads: “Compensation not included above, to disqualified persons.”

disqualified

Who exactly are these “disqualified persons” and are they being paid outside of the $20 million dollar pot listed on Page 1?

Naturally, the IRS website was virtually incomprehensible on the subject, but several other sources defined disqualified persons as:

  • “Disqualified persons” are those who are in a position to exercise substantial influence over the affairs of the organization, during the five years before the excess compensation was made.

  • “Disqualified persons” would include, for example, voting members of the governing body, and presidents, chief executive officers or chief operating officers, treasurers, and chief financial officers.

  • Also included as “disqualified persons” are certain family members of a disqualified person, and 35% controlled entities of a disqualified person.

  • Other people could also be considered “disqualified persons,” depending upon the relevant facts and circumstances that show substantial influence over the organization, such as a founder, substantial contributor, or manager of a substantial portion of the organization’s activities.

So, apparently, for a 501(c)(3) public charity like the SPLC, “disqualified persons” include founders, presidents, and other top executives, who are already got paid on Page 1, Line 15.

It can also include members of the Board of Directors, who, according to Page 10, receive no compensation for their efforts.

Or, it may include family members of all of the above.

Sadly, the Form 990 does not disclose the identities of the people who are receiving that $14.4 million compensation. Surely somebody has this information. Perhaps the Freedom of Information Act could help?

We ask these impudent questions because the SPLC has a habit of hiding expenditures from the donors. For example, the company routinely makes the claim that “During the last fiscal year, approximately 68% of our total expenses were spent on program services.”

History has shown that this figure relies on the use of legal but ethically dubious gymnastics on the part of the bookkeepers. For example, Page 1, Line 16b of the Form 990 states categorically that “total fundraising expenses” for the year came to $9,689,461, or 21% of expenses for 2016.

Page 10, Line 26, however, notes “joint costs” of $6,989,987. What are “joint costs”? According to the SPLC’s own auditor: “The Center incurred joint costs of $7,983,475 for educational materials and activities as part of fundraising appeals during the year ended October 31, 2016.” (p. 14) Note that the auditor’s figure comes in at nearly a million dollars more than the Form 990.

Translation: “Joint costs are fundraising costs assigned to other departments.” For example, “Management” spent $737,711 on postage last year. That’s more than 1.6 million first-class stamps. Don’t the employees have email? Who else would “Management” need to contact on such a scale?

As Charity Navigator notes on its website: “Although the use of this accounting “trick” is often perfectly in line with the accounting rules for the reporting of joint solicitation costs (AICPA SOP 98-2) these rules allow for many interpretations and judgments that can produce questionable results.”

Add the auditor’s joint fundraising costs to the fundraising costs listed on the Form 990, ($17,672,936) and we’re already looking at 38% of last year’s budget, not the 32% claimed by the SPLC.

As it turns out, compensation to disqualified persons is also spread out across several departments, including another $2 million to fundraising, not listed above. That brings Fundraising’s grand total to $19,834,444, or 43% of the budget, not the 32% claimed by the SPLC.

disqualified2

Long story short, if the Southern Poverty Law Center is willing to obfuscate its fundraising numbers to hide reality from the donors, why wouldn’t it use the same kind of accounting prestidigitation concerning what it pays its all-white executive suite?

Does anyone out there know how Watching the Watchdogs can obtain the names of these mysterious “disqualified persons”? If so, please contact us as soon as possible.

SPLC — 2017 Telemarketing Scam

February 4, 2017

The Southern Poverty Law Center has released its IRS Form 990 and Audited Financial Report for F/Y 2016, and as predicted, it was a very profitable year for the company.

Part of of that success comes from the SPLC’s use of third-party telemarketers who convince first-time donors that their money will be used to somehow “fight hate.” In reality, their money, and that of thousands of existing SPLC donors, will be used to fight poverty — for the telemarketers, that is.

As we’ve reported in years past, the SPLC pays these telemarketers far more than they raise over the phone. Last year the company paid telemarketers $2,266,887 donor-dollars to raise only $1,271,287 donor-dollars, for a net loss of $995,600 (p. 40).

2017-telemarketing-numbers

As usual, the big winner was Grassroots Campaigns who were paid $1.8 million to raise just over $600,000. Telefund only pocketed 62% of the $340,000 it raised, while Harris Marketing kept 83% of the $256,800 it took in.

Since 2011, the SPLC has paid Grassroots  $5,828,603 more than they received in donations. While it seems incongruous that a company like the SPLC, which is forever sending out fundraising letters, as “the need has never been greater,” would be able to survive such financial hemorrhaging, the truth is they’ll make a fortune from it.

In essence, the SPLC is paying the telemarketers for the personal information of thousands of proven first-time donors, which they will feed into their own uber-efficient in-house fundraising machine. They take a loss on the first year but make it up with years, or even decades of successive donations down the road, at a sweet 100% profit.

The company isn’t even taking that much of a hit, as all of the first-time donations go straight to the telemarketers and any deficit is made up out of the existing donor pot, without any of the donors being the wiser.

How many long-time donors does it take to make up a $955,600 “shortage”? At $100 a pop, just under 10,000 donors. At a more reasonable $25 donation rate, just under 40,000 well-meaning suckers.

Granted, the use of third-party telemarketers for such purposes is not illegal and is practiced by many of the largest non-profits in the country. It’s up to the potential donor to ask the solicitor how much of their money will actually reach the SPLC.

Since Grassroots is paid a flat fee, they can even tell Grandma with a straight face that all of her donation will go to “fight hate.” That the SPLC is only going to triple the amount and send it back to Grassroots is merely a minor detail.

We’ve only just made our first pass over the SPLC’s latest financials. Stay tuned for more information on where the money goes.

SPLC — Hoaxed Again!

December 22, 2016

In another ham-fisted fear campaign, the Southern Poverty Law Center has embarked on a series of unsubstantiated, unverified and largely anecdotal “reports” that claim hundreds of “hate incidents” (not to be confused with actual hate crimes) and over a thousand “incidents” have recently been reported across the country at large and hundreds more occurring within the nation’s school systems.

The undeniable cause of this effect? It could only be the hate-filled election of Donald Trump, right? What else could it be (that would still agitate the donors into forking over more money)?

As we have been reporting over the weeks since the election, neither SPLC “report” stands up to the slightest breath of fact checking. The company makes huge claims of receiving thousands of reports over a web page on their website where anyone in the world can “report an incident” and they themselves disclaim that their “Trump Effect” survey of “educators” is not scientific because the respondents were not chosen at random, there’s no mechanism to verify that the respondents were even “educators” and all of the responses were anecdotal.

The results of this survey are not scientific. The respondents were not selected in a manner to ensure a representative sample; those who responded may have been more likely to perceive problems than those who did not.

Opening her report on “election-related bias” in the elementary schools, Teaching Tolerance’s Maureen Costello makes the bizarre claim that:

“Every student, from preschoolers up through high school, is aware of the tone, rhetoric and catch-phrases of this particular campaign season.”

Really, Maureen? Every student glued to the debates, watching Meet the Press over their weekend Lucky Charms and Pop Tarts? Even kindergartners? Really? Costello peppered her report with anonymous quotes to prove that Hell’s hand-basket has arrived. [Caution: Some readers may find the following graphic content disturbing.]

One Muslim girl clung to her kindergarten teacher on November 9 and asked, “Are they going to do anything to me? Am I safe?” – Early Childhood Teacher, Tennessee

A lesbian student’s mother was telling her that life as we knew it was over, and she was quite distraught about her mother. Children are very worried about being deported or killed. – Elementary Counselor, Illinois

Pretty heart-wrenching stuff, no? It’s hard enough being a lesbian in the third grade without Donald Trump sending your mom over the edge, and let’s face it, Elementary Counselor — Illinois has never lied to us before.

On the national scene, more anonymous reports and more disclaimers that the anonymous reports were pretty much all anecdotal.

A Latina woman in Texas reported: I was walking my baby at my neighborhood park and a truck drove by with a male driving and a female passenger. The female yelled “white power” at us as they drove by and then sped away.

It doesn’t get much more Trump-related than that, or more undeniable. After all, it’s “anecdotal,” right?

November 15: “These incidents, aside from news reports, are largely anecdotal.”

December 16: “The SPLC made every effort to verify each report, but many included in the count remain anecdotal.”

 anecdotal
adjective

  1. (of an account) not necessarily true or reliable, because based on personal accounts rather than facts or research: ‘while there was much anecdotal evidence there was little hard fact’

https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/anecdotal

The SPLC “reports” do include several media reports, and if the anonymous, anecdotal incidents were not proof enough, “Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success.”

This time, the SPLC got it right. A growing number of “incidents” really were directly tied to Trump’s election.

ten-days-after

And the suspect is…

andrew-mcclinton-arrested

Unlike the SPLC, we’re not going to jump to any conclusions because the authorities are still working through the case, and unlike the SPLC, we believe that everyone is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, not a court of public opinion.

The same goes for this gentleman:

philly

And him:

palmer

And this young “activist”:

volk

This young woman says she made her story up because she was late for curfew:

yasmin

Let’s be honest. A lot of hateful, ignorant things have been said before and after the election, with no shortage of them coming from Trump himself, and sadly, there is no shortage of knuckleheads who will commit hoaxes in accordance with the voices they hear in their heads.

One thing you can always count on, the SPLC will find a way to build a classic fearmongering campaign around them.

THIS JUST IN: A gay couple were removed from a JetBlue flight today for allegedly verbally abusing Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, and her family, who were flying commercial.

According to tweets by one of the men, his husband was upset to find Trump’s family on the flight and was “chasing them down to harass them.” [Who says one spouse can’t testify against another? Someone’s going to have a lot of ‘splainin’ to do when they get home tonight.]
ivanka

Finally, SPLC, a genuine “election-related hate incident” for your collection. Let’s see if it makes it onto the list.


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