A group favoring limits on immigration said this week it will ask the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the Southern Poverty Law Center and strip the hate-watchdog’s tax-exempt status over what it described as illegal political activity undertaken before the Nov. 8 presidential election.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) says 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 that didn’t detail the SPLC’s purported law-breaking.
“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 has long accused FAIR of ties to white supremacy, and since 2007 has listed the organization as a hate group in itself.
“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 from the Pioneer Fund, a 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 ad that compared one of his GOP Senate colleagues with Osama bin Laden.
The SPLC did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.