D.A. King, a plaintiff in a defamation lawsuit against the Montgomery-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), said in a podcast appearance on Monday that his case against the far-left activist organization is just "the beginning of the beginning."
King is the president of the Dustin Inman Society (DIS), founded in 2005. The DIS is a nonprofit that advocates for securing U.S. borders. King was influential in creating Georgia's controversial immigration bill in 2011, guiding the legislators who drafted the law.
King is suing the SPLC because the organization labeled the DIS an "anti-immigrant hate group" on its website.
The SPLC has faced criticism and accusations of hypocrisy, fostering a toxic work environment and using its influence to promote progressive ideological goals. It has faced several defamation lawsuits over the past three decades. Much of the criticism has revolved around its "hate map," which purports to list "hate and antigovernment groups" in the United States.
Conservatives accuse the SPLC of including groups with standard conservative agendas on the same list as violent organizations like the Ku Klux Klan. In 2020, the Republican National Committee even approved a resolution to condemn the law center's standards for identifying hate groups.
In June, the SPLC received national attention for placing several parental rights groups on the hate map, including the Florida-based coalition Moms for Liberty.
The SPLC has also faced backlash for its relationship with the FBI, who previously admitted to having "forged partnerships" with the SPLC and other left-wing organizations "to establish rapport, share information, address concerns and cooperate in solving problems." Earlier this year, the SPLC recommended that the FBI spy on and infiltrate traditionalist Catholic organizations.
During a Monday appearance on "The Daily Signal Podcast," King spoke with Tyler O'Neil, the Daily Signal managing editor and author of a book alleging deep-rooted corruption in the SPLC, about the ongoing legislation.
O'Neil suggested King's case was particularly significant because, though conservative organizations have attempted to face the SPLC in court before, the courts typically kill the case after the SPLC files a motion to dismiss.
U.S. District Judge W. Keith Watkins refused a request by the SPLC to drop King's defamation case in May.
King, while providing an overview of his case against the SPLC, argued his organization simply tries to educate people on "the consequences of illegal immigration" and that the DIS supports legal immigrants like his adopted sister, who is from Korea.
"There is a higher concentration or population of people in the country illegally in Georgia than green card holders," King said. "So we have our hands full. We have been extremely successful since 2005. We're very proud of it. But what success does, if you fight the organized crime that is illegal immigration, is it draws people like the SPLC who are clearly on the anti-enforcement side."
According to King, the SPLC told The Associated Press in 2011 that his organization was not a hate group but labeled them a hate group in 2018 when they continued to work on legislation with lawmakers in Georgia.
"So in a nutshell, if people want to keep up with this, the Southern Poverty Law Center has told the world that we are an anti-immigrant hate group that denigrates all immigrants," King explained. "And then they've thrown in a bunch of out-of-context sentences from newspaper columns and things that I have written and said that had nothing to do with any of their charges. But their effort is to silence us or to marginalize us to the point where it doesn't matter what we say or do. And in that effort, they've had some success."
King claimed that the DIS has struggled financially due to the SPLC attack. It has received donations for its litigation efforts but lacks funds for regular operations.
King also accused the mainstream media of steering clear of his case. He said he did an interview with a reporter with The New York Times on June 8, but the paper has yet to publish a story on it.
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