Tyler O'Neil, PJ Media, March 1, 2021
In the wake of the Capitol riot, the House Committee on Financial Services — chaired by none other than Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) — held a hearing entitled “Dollars Against Democracy: Domestic Terrorist Financing in the Aftermath of Insurrection.” Who should testify at such a hearing? Democrats invited none other than the scandal-plagued far-left smear factory the Southern Poverty Law Center, which routinely brands mainstream conservative and Christian nonprofits “hate groups,” listing them along with the Ku Klux Klan.
In her testimony, SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks suggested concrete ways that government and Big Tech can separate “hate groups” from their “online funding sources.” She praised some tech companies for taking action while demanding far more throttling in the future.
“Separating hate groups from their online funding sources will prevent their ideas from reaching a wider audience, and it will disrupt their networks. Some technology companies have taken steps in the right direction, but both government and internet companies must do far more to combat extremism and hate,” Brooks wrote in her testimony.
While government and Big Tech should combat organizations that pose a concrete terrorism threat, the SPLC’s recommendations are riddled with far-left bias and blindness to any violent threat from leftist radicals associated with antifa or Black Lives Matter. The SPLC paints the Right with a broad terrorism brush while consciously ignoring any threats from the Left.
In fact, the SPLC’s “hate group” accusation inspired a would-be terrorist to target the Christian nonprofit the Family Research Council (FRC) in 2012, aiming to murder everyone in the building and place a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich by his or her head. While the SPLC rightly condemned the attack, it did not remove FRC from the “hate group” list.
Amazon removed falsely-branded “hate groups” like FRC and Alliance Defending Freedom from its charity donation platform AmazonSmile. The credit card processing company Vanco Payment Solutions blacklisted the small Roman Catholic nonprofit the Ruth Institute. Credit card companies like Mastercard and Discover refused to process donations to critics of radical Islam like Robert Spencer, whose JihadWatch the SPLC brands an “anti-Muslim hate group.” The event managing site Eventbrite blacklisted a mainstream conservative national security nonprofit, ACT for America, as did Hyatt Hotels.
These “hate groups” had nothing to do with the Capitol riot, but they would likely find themselves in the crosshairs of any efforts the government and Big Tech take to fight “hate groups” on the SPLC’s orders.
In her testimony, Brooks warned about “hate groups” resorting to less mainstream social media networks and fundraising platforms as Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and others move to deplatform conservatives along with some truly noxious actors who planned the violent attack on the Capitol.
Brooks warned that “the continued proliferation of cryptocurrencies” has enabled “hate group financing.”
Most Americans rightly condemn noxious racist groups like the National Justice Party and the Daily Stormer, but the SPLC seems intent on hounding these groups from platform to platform in an attempt to destroy them. Meanwhile, the SPLC winks at the violence and bloodshed perpetrated in the name of racial justice in the riots this past summer.
Brooks also warned Congress about a crowdfunding platform launched by the Olympia, Wash., group American Wolf. She noted that Proud Boys member Alan Swinney, who faces charges for allegedly shooting protesters with a paintball gun and who reportedly aims to raise funds to physically attack antifa agitators, leaving them “on the ground and choking,” has raised money on the platform.
How much money? Brooks noted that he raised “roughly $1,500.”
So, what, exactly, does the SPLC recommend Big Tech and Joe Biden do to separate “hate groups” from their online sources of funding?
Brooks encouraged tech companies to craft terms of service that prevent “hateful activities and extremism” from growing and leading “to domestic terrorism.” She recommended tech companies commit to regular outside audits, work with other tech companies to prevent “hate groups” from finding a new platform when they have been blacklisted, use their data to prevent “terrorist funding,” and redesign their “Trust and Safety” systems.
As for the federal government, Brooks encouraged lawmakers to “condemn hate and extremism” (supposedly unlike Donald Trump), penalize tech companies if they do not report on abuses of their systems, fund research into how to monitor tech platforms and how to acquire cryptocurrency data, enact the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act to establish offices to “confront far-right extremism,” improve federal hate crime data, and promote “anti-bias education programs” that “steer individuals away from hate and extremism.”
As for the anti-bias programs, Brooks specifically mentioned the SPLC’s Learning for Justice program, which promotes Marxist critical race theory in public schools. In the name of fighting “extremism,” she supports an ideology that inspired the deadly riots of last summer.