The Southern Poverty Law Center, the left-leaning nonprofit known for putting out a “hate map” of groups around the country that it deems hateful and extremist, had been a prominent “resource” on the FBI’s hate crime Web page.
The center was scrubbed from the Web page after 15 conservative groups lobbied Attorney General Eric Holder and FBI Director James Comey to end the endorsement, according to the Washington Examiner.
“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,” the letter states.
The Southern Poverty Law Center includes Ku Klux Klan and New Black Panther Party groups on its “hate map,” as well as organizations like the Family Research Council, a socially conservative organization. A man who was convicted of opening fire at the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C. headquarters in 2012 acknowledged that he used the “hate map” to target the organization.
“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, president of the Family Research Council, told the Examiner. “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.”
The FBI — which also eliminated the Anti-Defamation League from the resource list — had no comment regarding its decision. Neither the Anti-Defamation League nor the Southern Poverty Law Center had immediate comments.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” — which to date still includes the Family Research Council — targets groups with “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” The hate map is “compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports,” its website states.
Floyd Corkins II pleaded guilty to an act of armed terrorism and assault with intent to kill in the Family Research Council shooting.
“Southern Poverty Law lists, uh, anti-gay groups,” Corkins said during questioning by law enforcement in footage released later. “I found them online — did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that.”
Corkins fired three shots in the lobby, injuring a guard who still managed to subdue him. He was carrying nearly 100 rounds of ammunition as well as 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which was in the news at the time for the company’s stance upholding traditional marriage. Corkins later said he wanted to kill as many people as possible and then smear the sandwiches on the victims’ faces.
The Southern Poverty Law Center called the assertion that it bears some responsibility for the shooting because the gunman admitted to using their website “outrageous.”