The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has labeled several Washington, D.C.-based family organizations as "hate groups" for favoring traditional marriage, has been dumped as a "resource" on the FBI's Hate Crime Web page, a significant rejection of the influential legal group.
The Web page scrubbing, which also included eliminating the Anti-Defamation League, was not announced and came in the last month after 15 family groups pressed Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey to stop endorsing a group -- SPLC -- that inspired a recent case of domestic terrorism at the Family Research Council.
"We commend the FBI for removing website links to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that not only dispenses erroneous data but has been linked to domestic terrorism in federal court. We hope this means the FBI leadership will avoid any kind of partnership with the SPLC,” Tony Perkins, FRC President, told Secrets.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center's mission to push anti-Christian propaganda is inconsistent with the mission of both the military and the FBI, which is to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States,” he added.
The Anti-Defamation League, however, was "shocked" by the FBI's move, made without any notice. It's work with the FBI has not been questioned.
Abraham H. Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, told Secrets, “We are shocked, surprised and disappointed that this would be done without any consultation with groups such as ours who have been working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation on issues of hate crime. We look forward to having further conversations with them on this issue.”
The FBI had no comment and offered no explanation for its decision to end their website's relationship with the two groups, leaving just four federal links as hate crime “resources.” The SPLC had no comment.
SPLC has been a leading voice against hate crimes, and has singled out evangelical and traditional family groups as advocates of hate against gays. It has even gone after a local official, Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, who also heads a group that promotes traditional, opposite sex marriage.
In August 2012, a Washington area man guided by the SPLC's "hate map" that cited FRC, entered the group's headquarters and shot a security guard. The guard survived and the shooter, a volunteer with a gay group, pleaded guilty to domestic terrorism.
In their letter, the 15 conservative groups argued that the FBI website's inclusion of SPLC as a resource "played a significant part in bringing about an act of domestic terrorism." It added, "It is completely inappropriate for the Department of Justice to recommend public reliance on the SPLC hate group lists and data. The links to the SPLC as a FBI ‘Resource’ must be taken down immediately, leaving only official, trustworthy sources listed on the agency’s webpage."
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.