Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Action Fund announced the creation of two political action committees (PACs) to prop up progressive candidates in the South.
According to reports, the New Southern Leaders federal PAC and the New Southern Majority Super PAC are the two new PACs.
PACs pool campaign contributions from members and use those funds to donate to political campaigns. PACs are often used to bypass the direct donation limits to candidates.
Super PACs are a type of PAC that can engage in unlimited political spending independently of a campaign as long as they don't coordinate or make direct contributions to campaigns or party coffers.
A representative from the SPLC told the media that its new PACs would push for "greater diversity" among Southern political candidates and that the New Southern Majority PAC would spend as much as $800,000 on local races in Georgia this year.
Based in Mongomery, the SPLC is a left-wing legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation.
The SPLC also provides information about who it deems to be hate groups to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies. It has worked with big tech organizations such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Amazon.
For the last 30 years, the SPLC has been accused of hypocrisy, facilitating an unhealthy work environment and leveraging its influence for progressive ideological objectives.
In the 1990s, the Montgomery Advertiser highlighted staffers' allegations of racial discrimination within the SPLC, and that story was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 "for its probe of questionable management practices and self-interest at the Southern Poverty Law Center."
In 2019, SPLC co-founder Morris Dees was accused of sexual harassment and complacency with workplace racial discrimination. He was removed from the organization soon after that.
Later that year, Twitter dumped the SPLC from its Trust and Safety Council, an advisory group of organizations intended to "improve the health of the public conversation."
Many conservatives have criticized the law center for having a left-wing bias in the past. The SPLC produces a Hate Map to track radical and extremist groups.
Conservatives accuse the SPLC of including groups with standard conservative agendas on the same list as violent organizations like the Ku Klux Klan.
SPLC has faced numerous defamation lawsuits over its naming of those hate groups.
In 2018, it paid a $3 million settlement and apologized for branding Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz an "anti-Muslim Extremist" in its "Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists."
In 2019, Jessica Prol Smith wrote an article on USA Today, blaming the SPLC for instigating a terrorist attack against her employer, the Family Research Council (FRC), which almost killed her.
The FRC, a conservative evangelical organization that advocates for pro-life causes, traditional marriage and religious liberty, was labeled a hate group by the SPLC, and the assailant admitted to the FBI that he selected the FRC office to attack for this reason.
Smith called the SPLC a "hate-based scam" and an "obscenely wealthy marketing scheme."
"For years, the left-wing interest group has used its 'hate group' list to promote the fiction that violent neo-Nazis and Christian nonprofits peacefully promoting orthodox beliefs about marriage and sex are indistinguishable," Smith said.
The SPLC continues to designate the FRC as a hate group today.
In 2020, the Republican National Committee approved a resolution to condemn the law center's standards for identifying hate groups.
SPLC has also received criticism from the left for milking "gullible Northern liberals" for money while misaligning itself with its supposed values.
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