SPLC and the deep, deep south
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has stashed millions of dollars in foreign accounts in the Cayman Islands, according to a report published Aug. 31 by The Washington Free Beacon. Although not illegal, shifting $5.6 million to off-shore accounts raises questions about what it intends to do with the money.
The report cited 2014 and 2015 tax records (the latest available) to reveal the movement of funds. According to 2014 tax records, the SPLC made three separate cash transfers totaling $1,219,581 to incorporated entities in the Cayman Islands. In 2015, the non-profit organization moved $4.4 million in two different transfers on March 1. The organization has earned relatively high marks from the watchdog group Charity Navigator, but not as high as one of the groups listed on the SPLC’s “hate map.”
The SPLC touts itself as dedicated “to fighting hate and bigotry and seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society” and raked in $58,176,499 in donations in 2015 under that guise. That brought the non-profit organization’s total assets to $328,395,092, according to its 990 federal tax form. The group earned an overall score of 86 out of 100 and three out of four stars from Charity Navigator.
Often criticized for its emphasis on fundraising, the SPLC spends almost one-quarter of its budget—22.1 percent—raising money. It spends another 13.2 percent on administrative costs.
Compare that to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a civil liberties group that has earned the SPLC hate group label for its defense of Biblical marriage and human sexuality. Charity Navigator gave ADF an overall rating of four out of four stars and a score of 90 out of 100.
ADF raised $46,077,714 in contributions in 2015 and had total assets of $48,310,833 as of June 2015.
Since last month’s violent protest by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., the SPLC has collected millions in donations from high-profile personalities from the entertainment and business worlds, including $1 million each from celebrities George and Amal Clooney and Apple CEO Tim Cook. The SPLC said the Clooney donation will be used “to increase the capacity of the SPLC to combat hate groups in the United States.” —B.P.