‘Highly Profitable Scam’: Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Ripping Off Donors,’ Former Staffer Says

Morris Dees, the co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), speaks in a 2014 interview. The SPLC fired him last week. Former SPLC staffer Bob Moser said, "The firing of Morris Dees, the co-founder of the S.P.L.C., has flushed up uncomfortable questions that have surrounded the organization for years."

By Published on March 22, 2019

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a “highly profitable scam” that “never lived up to the values it espoused,” according to former SPLC staffer Bob Moser.

New York Magazine on Thursday published a scathing essay from Moser, now a Rolling Stone reporter, accusing the left-wing non-profit of “ripping off donors” while turning a blind eye to sexual harassment and racial discrimination within its own ranks.

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The SPLC fired co-founder Morris Dees on March 13 over unspecified conduct issues.

The SPLC announced Dees’ firing after roughly two dozen SPLC employees previously signed a letter to the organization’s leadership expressing their alarm at “allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and racism,” The Los Angeles Times reported.

“The firing of Dees has flushed up all the uncomfortable questions again. Were we complicit, by taking our paychecks and staying silent, in ripping off donors on behalf of an organization that never lived up to the values it espoused? Did we enable racial discrimination and sexual harassment by failing to speak out?” Moser asked in his article.

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One of Moser’s former colleagues answered in the affirmative. “Of course we did,” she told Moser. “It’s shameful, but when you’re there you kind of end up accepting things. I never even considered speaking out when things happened to me! It doesn’t feel good to recognize that. I was so into the work, and so motivated by it, I kind of shrugged off what was going on.”

A spokesman for the SPLC did not return an email seeking comment on Moser’s article.

The SPLC, which is known to label pedestrian conservative organizations as “hate groups,” is a key resource for Amazon, Google and other tech companies in policing “hate speech.”

According to Moser, SPLC employees were aware that donors were being misled about the SPLC’s mission.

He described “the guilt you couldn’t help feeling about the legions of donors who believed that their money was being used, faithfully and well, to do the Lord’s work in the heart of Dixie. We were part of the con, and we knew it.”

The non-profit recently reported more than half a billion dollars in assets, including $121 million in off-shore funds.

 

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