- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 23, 2016

An immigration reform group this week said it will ask the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Southern Poverty Law Center and strip the civil rights watchdog of its tax exempt status over what it described as illegal political activity undertaken prior to the Nov. 8 presidential election.

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) on Tuesday said its legal affiliate expects to file a tax complaint with the IRS challenging the SPLC’s standing as a nonprofit organization.

Dan Stein, president of FAIR, said his immigration reform group plans to provide the IRS with 100 pages worth of information showing “in laborious detail how the SPLC operates as a campaign operation for one political party and nothing more.”

“The SPLC is deeply invested in promoting mass immigration, bullying political opponents into silence, and is nothing more than a daily smear machine uninterested in the free exchange of ideas. It uses the same ad hominem tactics year in and year out to try to manage political speech in the interests of its own agenda,” Mr. Stein said in a statement devoid of specifics concerning the SPLC’s alleged illegality.  

“The SPLC is simply not a credible source of accurate or truthful information,” he added, but a “basket of partisan propaganda artists masquerading as public policy advocates.”

FAIR’s threat marks only the latest development in a row between the two groups dating back several years.

The SPLC, one of the nation’s foremost civil rights watchdogs, has long accused FAIR of ties to white supremacy, and since 2007 has listed the organization as a recognized hate group.

“Although FAIR maintains a veneer of legitimacy that has allowed its principals to testify in Congress and lobby the federal government, this veneer hides much ugliness,” the SPLC claims on its website.

In announcing its plans to file a complaint with the federal government, FAIR acknowledged the lengthy dispute between groups.

“The SPLC continues to state that FAIR has ties to people it has no ties to, is interested in things it’s not interested in, and is working for ends it’s not working toward,” Mr. Stein said. “The SPLC’s attacks have been refuted and effectively dismissed by the media, government agencies, and others who continue to rely on FAIR for information and commentary.”

According to the SPLC, FAIR previously received roughly $1.2 million in grants grants from the Pioneer Fund, an eugenicist organization founded by individuals affiliated with the Nazi regime in 1930s Germany. Former Sen. Alan Simpson, Wyoming Republican, resigned from FAIR’s advisory board several years later after the group ran a newspaper add that compared one of his GOP Senate colleagues with Osama bin Laden.

“FAIR is threatening to file a complaint against us with the IRS for one reason and one reason alone — It’s upset that we’ve exposed it for the hate group that it is, and it wants to silence us,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement Wednesday.

“The SPLC is careful to comply with the restrictions on organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Accordingly, we do not intervene in elections for or against any candidate for public office,” he added. “At the same time, we work tirelessly in pursuit of our mission to educate the public about hate and bigotry in the public sphere, including hate and bigotry that infects the political process. Despite FAIR’s threat, we promise to continue to do so.”

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