Sen. Tom Cotton Calls For SPLC To Lose Tax-Exempt Status

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Phillip Stucky Contributor
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Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton laid out his plan to end the tax-exempt status of the Southern Poverty Law Center, during a Tuesday interview with Tucker Carlson.

The non-profit recently had to replace its CEO for “inappropriate conduct,” according to a report from CNN. In addition to the recent workplace difficulties, the Center also parks a significant portion of its funds and endowment in overseas markets, a fact that Cotton asserted was the reason it earned an “F” rating from Charity Watch. (RELATED: ‘Highly Profitable Scam’: Southern Poverty Law Center ‘Ripping Off Donors,’ Former Staffer Says)

“I don’t know many charities that send their endowment overseas. Charity Watch gives them an F rating. They have become a hate group themselves and use that to stigmatize opponents. There are plenty of groups on the left I don’t agree with, but I don’t stigmatize them as a hate group and peddle that to CNN and the New York Times,” Cotton began.

After calling on Congress to investigate them, Cotton then exclaimed, “Talk about misusing funds! The founder was paid $400,000 a year. They do nothing other than sexually harass young women working in the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

Cotton sent a letter to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requesting that auditors re-asses the group’s tax-exempt status because of the group’s multiple alleged transgressions.

“The letter I sent today is just the first step I am taking to get the IRS focussed on this serious problem. A so-called charity that has racism and sexual discrimination problems. It’s using that money to target political opponents. That’s not what American taxpayers are subsidizing with tax-exempt status. Not to sexually harass every woman in your office and discriminate against migrants,” Cotton continued. 

Cotton’s letter to the IRS urges the government no longer to support a group that, in his opinion, attacks political opponents with ease.

“I am writing to urge you to investigate whether the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) should retain its classification as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization,” Cotton wrote to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig. “Recent news reports have confirmed the long-established fact that the SPLC regularly engages in defamation of its political opponents. In fact, the SPLC’s defining characteristic is to fundraise off of defamation.”

“This business model has paid well. The SPLC has accrued more than $500 million in assets,” Cotton asserted. “According to the group’s most recent financial statement, it holds $121 million offshore in non-U.S. equity funds. The SPLC uses these assets to pay its executives lavish salaries, far higher than the comparable household average.”