11/26/10, "Southern 'Poverty' Law Center's Cayman Island's Bank Account," Michael Petrelis, Petrelis Files
"The SPLC's new 2009 IRS 990 filing shows they have a bank account in the Cayman Islands. Now, stop for a good long minute and ask yourself what the hell is a supposed
- poverty-fighting Alabama-based tax exempt organization doing with such an account. Then ponder this: how much money is in it.
change in these economic hard times.
- When was the last time this group, with almost $190 million in assets, did a damn worthwhile thing about, um, poverty?
The tax filing also shows Dees traveled by air charter, and that his spouse, artist and businesswoman Susan Starr, accompanies her husband on the business trips....
Noted veteran leftwing writer Alexander Cockburn in May 2009 analyzed SPLC's IRS 990 for the previous year, its enormous endowment and wallet-busting salaries, and compares its agenda with more effective and smaller budgeted groups:
'How about attacking the roots of Southern poverty, and the system that sustains that poverty as expressed in the endless prisons and Death Rows across the South, disproportionately crammed with blacks and Hispanics?And Cockburn is not the only watchdog keeping his eyes on all the millions of dollars flowing to SPLC and how the funds are used.
You fight theatrically, the Dees way, or you fight substantively, like, for example, the Institute for Southern Studies run by Chris Kromm; or like Stephen Bright, who makes only $11,000 as president and senior counsel of the Southern Center for Human Rights. The center's director makes less than $50,000 [...] Bright's outfit is basically dedicated to two things: prison litigation and the death penalty. He fights the system, case by case. Not the phony targets mostly tilted at by Dees but the effective, bipartisan, functional system of oppression, far more deadly and determined than the SPLC's tin-pot hate groups. [...]'
Former Harper's Magazine writer Ken Silverstein wrote a piece about the group in 2000, subtitled
- "How the Southern Poverty Law Center profits from intolerance," that is still very pertinent and well-worth reading today:
- In 1986, the center's entire legal staff quit in protest of Dees's refusal to address issues - such as homelessness, voter registration, and affirmative action - that they considered far more pertinent to poor minorities [...]
- "We were not particular about how we did it; we just wanted to be independently rich." [...]
- thinking they're helping poverty-stricken blacks or whites in Alabama move into better housing.
- from top, pool house, chat area, building for wife's studio, from Montgomery Advertiser photo display. photo of Dees from 2008.