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House Democrats Use SPLC 'Hate Groups' List to Argue Conservative Non-Profits Should Lose Tax-Exempt Status

  • Amanda Casanova

    Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and…

  • 2019 Sep 27

House Democrats argued last week during a Ways and Means Committee hearing that some 60 “hate groups” should have their tax-exempt status revoked.

According to Faithwire, “hate groups” identified were mainly socially conservative organizations, such as the Family Research Council, the Federation for American Immigration Reform and the American Family Association.

“It’s unacceptable that your money continues to help propagate hatred from groups like these,” the Ways and Means Committee tweeted.

The hearing, “How the Tax Code Subsidizes Hate,” included a discussion that tax-exempt status should be taken away from those groups, but House Republicans answered back that Democrats cannot choose which groups should lose their tax-exempt status.

Democrats also featured speakers who shared their stories of how those “hate groups” led to events such as mass shootings. They argued that Congress needs to push forward a legislative proposal to revoke the tax benefits from the groups. Speakers included Brandon Wolf, who survived the Pulse Nightclub Shooting in Orlando and Jeff Binkley, the father of Maura Binkley, the woman who was killed in a 2018 shooting at a yoga studio in Florida.

The “hate groups” were identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The organization has frequently come under fire itself for racial discrimination and sexual assault allegations. The organization’s co-founder, Morris Dees, and the president, Richard Cohen, both stepped down from their top roles.

The SPLC said “hate groups” were those with “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”

Dan Stein, however, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said his group is asking for an IRS investigation of SPLC’s tax-exempt status.

He said the SPLC has done “nothing but demean, smear, and attack its opponents.

“They claim that they’re trying to promote tolerance when they’re completely intolerant of people with an alternative point of view.”

Photo courtesy: Getty Images/Thea Design