During a Ways and Means Committee hearing last week, House Democrats argued that around sixty “hate groups” consisting of mainly socially conservative organizations should be re-examined and have their tax-exempt status taken away.
The hearing, which met on the topic of “How The Tax Code Subsidizes Hate,” was held by Democrats hoping to end the tax-exempt law for some organizations they consider hateful, as defined by the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center.
While House Republicans argued that Democrats picking and choosing which groups received tax-exempt status infringes on First Amendment rights, the Democrats contend that Americans deserve to know where their money is going, and claimed if taxpayers were to learn it has been going to these so-called “hate groups,” they will not be happy.
“It’s unacceptable that your money continues to help propagate hatred from groups like these,” the Ways and Means Committee tweeted.
(1/5): Over 60 hate groups receive tax exempt status every year – meaning taxpayers are subsidizing the continued operation of these organizations. It’s unacceptable that your money continues to help propagate hatred from groups like these:
— Ways & Means Committee (@WaysMeansCmte) September 19, 2019
The subcommittee allowed visitors to share personal stories in regards to these hate groups, each asking congress to strip various organizations of their tax-exempt status.
The list includes organizations like the Family Research Council, Federation for American Immigration Reform, American Family Association, and D. James Kennedy Ministries, just to name a few.
Each group is designated as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), an organization that has both an anti-Christian background and controversial leadership.
Over the past year, the SPLC leadership has faced intense scrutiny over serious sexual assault allegations, along with racial discrimination in the workplace, as the New Yorker reported.
Amid the allegations, the group’s co-founder Morris Dees was fired and the SPLC President, Richard Cohen, was forced to step down as well.
As previously reported by Faithwire, SPLC has a history of combative behavior towards Christian and conservative groups. In April 2019, a group of Christian and conservative leaders signed a letter asking CEOs of companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Amazon to cut ties with SPLC.
“It is now clear that the SPLC has proven to be a hate-filled, anti-Christian, anti-conservative organization and nothing more than a weapon of the radical left, whose goal is to bully people into compliance with their ideology,” the letter stated. “Fail to comply with their demands, and you will be labeled as a hate group or an extremist.”
The SPLC defines hate groups as those which “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics,” which appears to include supporting a traditional or Biblical view of marriage, and immigration reform that increases border and national security.
In the past, they have targeted groups like Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and Prager University for conservative and/or Christian ideology.
They’ve done “nothing but demean, smear, and attack its opponents,” says Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, who is individually listed on the SPLC hate-list. “They claim that they’re trying to promote tolerance when they’re completely intolerant of people with an alternative point of view,” he continued, adding that his organization is seeking out an IRS investigation of SPLC’s tax-exempt status.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies last year, the SPLC was reported to have more than half a billion dollars in assets, “putting tens of millions in tax havens.”