What is the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)?
The SPLC touts itself as a nonprofit civil rights organization “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry” by using “litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy.” It was founded in 1971 in Montgomery, Alabama, as a civil rights litigation firm to fight the ongoing resistance to equal treatment for AfricanAmericans. The SPLC’s main target early on was the Ku Klux Klan, which it successfully sued for financial damages for the victims of Klan violence. Despite its laudable origins, over time the SPLC has morphed into a bitterly partisan actor that tries to play the role of political referee while simultaneously engaging in progressive activism. It does this by using smear tactics, intimidation, ritualized defamation, and a knack for fundraising to silence its political opponents. As of October 2017, the SPLC has 302 employees, four state offices, and an endowment fund of more than $432.7 million.