Shining a Light on Anti-Free Speech, Anti-Borders Conspiracists
June 23, 2017
(Washington, D.C.) - This week, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), along with dozens of other tax-exempt public advocacy organizations, called for by letter (attached here) the immediate end of a highly unprofessional and damaging defamation campaign recently launched by GuideStarUSA, an online aggregator of tax data for the non-profit space frequently used by major foundations and individual donors in the United States. As part of its new initiative, GuideStar, a self-described politically "neutral" organization, has chosen to partner with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a controversial anti-borders and anti-free speech advocacy group, by prominently displaying the SPLC's "hate group" designation on the profile pages of many well known and respected organizations.
Neither before or after its recent decision to "flag" IRLI as a "hate group" on its online database has GuideStar tried to communicate to IRLI its reasoning behind the move or offered them an opportunity to defend themselves. Such an unprovoked and unfair attack isn't surprising, however. When the SPLC tarred IRLI as a "hate group" recently, it similarly refused to engage with or debate the organization on immigration policy or any other issue.
IRLI, a respected legal advocate with a 31-year old history, was added this year to the SPLC's "hate" list after IRLI made known its intention to file a complaint with the IRS alleging the group violated its tax-exempt status by engaging in unlawful electioneering activity this past election cycle. The "hate" designation was likely also in part in retaliation for IRLI recently filing a complaint with the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding an SPLC attack brief filed in a case in which IRLI was participating as an amicus party at the request of DOJ. DOJ's disciplinary counsel fulsomely rebuked the SPLC attorney, as well as attorneys from its partner-organizations, in a 2016 letter of reprimand , calling their "derogatory name-calling" and attacks "frivolous behavior." DOJ also stated that the involved attorneys showed "a lack of professionalism", abused the amicus process, and failed to aid the administration of justice.
IRLI Executive Director and General Counsel, Dale L. Wilcox, commented, "Over several years, the SPLC has managed to build up a highly lucrative, three hundred-million-dollar business out of falsely spreading fear among its donors, libelling legitimate public advocacy groups, and essentially trying to destroy the lives of people with which it disagrees. For GuideStar to partner with such an organization is highly disturbing and it is sincerely hoped they do not continue down the same path of infantile hate-labelling and generally shameless politics. Wilcox continued, "But GuideStar still has an opportunity to vindicate themselves. I sincerely hope they try."
For additional information, contact: Jade Haney • 202-232-5590 • firstname.lastname@example.org