Two peas in a pod.
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has obtained nearly two dozen pages of emails from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights and Tax divisions revealing questionable behavior by agency personnel while negotiating for Sothern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) co-founder Morris Dees to appear as the featured speaker at a July 31, 2012, “Diversity Training Event.” Judicial Watch obtained the records pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) submitted to the DOJ on September 10, 2012.
The Judicial Watch FOIA request was prompted by an apparently politically motivated shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) headquarters in August, 2012. At the time of the shooting, FRC president Tony Perkins accused the SPLC of sparking the shooting, saying the shooter “was given a license to shoot … by organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center that have been reckless in labeling organizations as hate groups because they disagree with them on public policy.”On its website, the SPLC has depicted FRC as a hate group,” along with such mainstream conservative organizations as the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, and Coral Ridge Ministries.
Judicial Watch filed the FOIA requests to determine what, if any, influence the SPLC’s branding of hate groups has had on government agencies. The FOIA request specifically asked for “any and all records concerning, regarding, or relating to the Sothern Poverty Law Center” between January 1 and August 31, 2012, including the Dees’ presentation sponsored by the Civil Rights and Tax divisions of the DOJ, for which employees were instructed qualified “for mandatory annual diversity training for supervisors.” According to the emails obtained by Judicial Watch, Dees’ speech was to be “simulcast to everyone’s PC throughout the Department.” [...]
“The Southern Poverty Law Center has, in the past few years, taken to labeling organizations with conservative views on social issues as ‘hate groups,’” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Given these fawning emails, one would have thought that a head of state was visiting the Justice Department. The SPLC is an attack group, and it is disturbing that it has premier access to our Department of Justice, which is charged with protecting the First Amendment rights of all Americans. And these emails further confirm that politically-correct ‘mandatory’ diversity training programs are a waste of taxpayer money.”