By Greg Piper, Just the News
The Alabama-based civil rights organization that made its name suing the Ku Klux Klan has put parental rights groups in its sights and for the first time has started tracking the “antigovernment movement” ideology in its annual “Year in Hate & Extremism” reports.
The Southern Poverty Law Center added “reactionary anti-student inclusion groups” to a list of 702 “antigovernment extremism” groups it tracked in 2022, separate from 523 “hate” groups. The organization focused almost exclusively on just one in its annual report published this week: Florida-based Moms for Liberty, far and away the leader in chapters nationwide.
The focus echoes Attorney General Merrick Garland’s 2021 memo pledging to prosecute “harassment, intimidation and threats of violence” against school boards, in response to a plea from the National School Boards Association to crack down on “domestic terrorism and hate crimes,” which critics deemed were actually parent-led protests about curriculum and COVID-19 restrictions. House Republicans recently questioned why Garland has yet to retract the memo.
Moms for Liberty is fundraising off the designation, citing a donor offering to match up to $300,000 in donations “to help fight back against the deliberate silencing of parents” by SPLC.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) weighed in as well, noting an SPLC lawyer was arrested and charged with domestic terrorism for allegedly participating in an attack on a police training facility-to-be. So did Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), noting Tuesday he asked for an IRS investigation of SPLC’s tax-exempt status in 2019 for “systematic defamation.”
SPLC has weathered several scandals in recent years – including the firing of its founder in the wake of internal allegations of racial and sexual discrimination and a multimillion-dollar settlement with a Muslim activist it deemed an “anti-Muslim extremist” – as well as three decades of scrutiny for its marketing and fundraising practices.
The author of the report, Intelligence Project Director Susan Corke, visited the Biden White House Jan. 6 and met with National Security Council counterterrorism director John Picarelli “accompanied by researchers from American University who work with the SPLC,” according to White House visitor logs reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
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