The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit organization that has long been regarded as a glorified direct-mail scam that profits from hate-mongering, has come under fire yet again for its shady financial practices. This time, SPLC has been caught shuttling millions of dollars to offshore entities — a practice that’s considered a “huge red flag” by philanthropy experts, an investigative report by Joe Schoffstall of The Washington Free Beacon reveals.
In recent years, SPLC has become famous for its “hate list” targeting conservatives, which inspired a crazed gunman‘s attempt to massacre employees at the Family Research Council and smear Chick-fil-A sandwiches in his victims’ faces in 2012. Fortunately, a security guard who tackled the shooter thwarted the attempt. The list also inspired a group of campus protestors to form a dangerous mob to silence author Charles Murray from speaking at Middlebury College earlier this year because the SPLC labeled him as an “extremist.”
The organization’s name was back in the headlines earlier this month after George and Amal Clooney donated $1 million to SPLC to “fight hate” after violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia resulted in a young woman’s death. Most of the Clooneys’ million-dollar donation will probably be spent on fundraising efforts, as that is SPLC’s single biggest expense, according to a recent scathing report from Philanthropy Roundtable. Some of their donation may even end up in an offshore account in the Cayman Islands — one of the world’s most infamous tax havens — as that’s where the nonprofit likes to park millions of its dollars.
In 2015, SPLC raised $50 million and that same year held “financial interests” in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda, tax records show. That same year, the nonprofit scuttled $2.2 million in cash to an account in the Cayman Islands. 2015 wasn’t the first year the nonprofit wired funds to offshore accounts. In 2014, the nonprofit shuttled almost a million dollars to an investment fund in the Cayman Islands, the Free Beacon reports. In 2011, the SPLC claimed $238 million in assets, some of which was parked in an account in Bermuda, the Daily Kos reported in 2012.
“I’ve never heard of a group with ‘Poverty’ in its name that has so much money,” said Kerri Kupec of the Alliance for Defending Freedom, an organization that has been on the receiving end of SPLC’s well-funded smear campaign. “On other hand, considering who we are talking about, it comes as no surprise. Whether it’s shady money transfers or being discredited for decades by investigative journalists and charity watchdogs as a ‘direct mail scam,’ the Southern Poverty Law Center lost its way a long time ago.”
The nonprofit pushed millions more into offshore funds at the beginning of 2015.
On March 1, 2015, SPLC sent $2,200,000 to an entity incorporated in Canana Bay, Cayman Islands, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records and run by a firm firm based in Greenwich, Ct. Another $2,200,000 cash transfer was made on the same day to another fund whose business is located at the same address as the previous fund in the Cayman Islands, according to SEC records.
No information is contained on its interests in Bermuda on the 2014 forms. SPLC’s financial stakes in the British Virgin Islands were not acknowledged until its 2015 tax form.
“I am stunned to learn of transfers of millions to offshore bank accounts,” Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California-based nonprofit consulting firm, told the Free Beacon. “It is a huge red flag and would have been completely unacceptable to any wealthy, responsible, experienced board member who was committed to a charitable mission who I ever worked with.”