Hate groups cashed in pandemic relief before millions of Americans protested for social change
Organizations identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has received millions of dollars in supported by the government Paycheque Protection Program (PPP) loans, according to data from the Small Business Administration.
The Center for Media and Democracy was the first to report on loans, which went to six nonprofits totaling between $ 2,350,000 and $ 5,700,000. (The SBA only disclosed loan amounts within the ranges – not exact amounts.) Groups will not need to reimburse the government if they spend the money on payroll and other operating expenses. (Disclosure: Salon received a PPP loan to maintain our staff and 100% independent journalism.)
The loans, which were granted from early to mid-April, predate the recent rise in national social justice of several weeks. Since receiving the funds, a number of organizations have advanced their political and ideological interests, lobbying the federal government and writing and publishing articles.
Organizations include the anti-Muslim hate group Center for Security Policy; two anti-immigrant hate groups, the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform; and three organizations designated as anti-LGBTQ hate groups, the American Family Association (AFA), Liberty Counsel and the Pacific Justice Institute.
The largest loan went to the American Family Association, which received between $ 1 million and $ 2 million to support 124 jobs.
In an April 27 interview with Ed Henry of Fox News, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said PPP funds were intended to support companies with 10 or fewer employees.
“The vast majority – as I noted, 1 million of the 1.6 million loans granted – were businesses with 10 or fewer employees,” she said. “That’s what this program is designed to do. That’s what it helps.”
In his 2017 tax declaration, which is the latest available, the AFA reported revenues of over $ 18.4 million, net assets of about $ 30 million, and compensation expenses of about $ 8 million. Between 2013 and 2017, the group achieved a combined turnover of more than 105 million dollars.
“Many of these hate-trafficking groups are already well-resourced, with a constant infusion of funds from far-right mega-donors and black money foundations,” Imraan Siddiqi, executive director of the Arizona branch of the Council on American-Islamic. Relations (CAIR), said the Center for Media and Democracy. “This only underscores more cases of vital funding in the hands of those who did not need it, as many small businesses in our communities have found themselves empty and having to close their doors.”
The SPLC classified the AFA as a hate group in 2010 after former senior official Bryan Fischer blamed homosexuals for the Holocaust. In 2015, two days before members of the Republican National Committee set off on an AFA-sponsored trip to Israel, the group sent a letter to SPLC disavowing Fischer’s remarks. However, the organization did not fire Fischer from his radio show.
Right-wing activist David Lane posted an article on the AFA website on Tuesday calling antifa and Black Lives Matter “an alliance between the two devils of Nazism and Communism.” Lane attributed this to their acceptance of “transgender, homosexuality, abortion”.
In another article, Lane claimed that the “duplicity and subterfuge” of antifa and Black Lives Matter could “come close to or even overtake the heinous terrorist group ISIS, which has ransacked historic Christian and Muslim sanctuaries in the north of England. ‘Iraq”.
The other two anti-LGBTQ nonprofits that have received taxpayer-backed relief are Liberty Counsel (between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million, apparently keeping no jobs) and the Pacific Justice Institute (between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000 to support 17 jobs).
The Freedom Council Filing 990-T 2018, the only form available most recently, states that the group has suffered losses in taxable income for years and claimed a small deduction from that income. Its subsidiary, Liberty Counsel Action, filed in the same year less than $ 50,000 in receipts.
Salon contacted Liberty Counsel prior to the publication, but received no response to a detailed request for comment. After the post, Liberty Counsel reached out to Salon on Twitter and said the group lists financial data on their website, which Salon discovered is indeed in a link under the “Donate Now” section of the “Do Now” tab. a donation”.
There, the organization claims the following, without supporting documents:
“For the two-year period July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019, LC received $ 13,448,347 in income, which included monetary support of $ 11,412,713 from donors and $ 2,035,634 from other income, investments and legal fees awarded by the court. Other income received exceeded fundraising costs ($ 598,820) plus administrative costs ($ 1,420,445). 100% of donor monetary contributions went directly to our vital educational and legal programs. “
It is still unclear why Liberty Counsel needed hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government, how they planned to use the money, or how many jobs they would keep with the loan.
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) was founded by white nationalist John Tanton and has ties to the senior White House adviser and famous white nationalist Stephen Miller. CIS received a loan worth between $ 350,000 and $ 1 million to support 15 jobs.
The CIS has spent the spring accusing undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Latin America of spreading the coronavirus. The group claimed that “border smugglers” were responsible for the recent increase in cases – not the state’s botched reopening strategy under the leadership of Republican Governor Greg Abbott.
Another anti-immigrant hate group from Tanton, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has been approved for a loan of up to $ 1 million, apparently for 35 jobs.
FAIR’s most recent IRS filing available shows the group raised $ 12 million in 2018 and more than double the previous year. He spent $ 3.7 million on salaries and other benefits in 2018, with total net assets of $ 33.8 million.
According to the SPLC, FAIR is “America’s most influential anti-immigrant organization. “This spring, FAIR press the Trump administration on immigration issues. On June 22, President Donald Trump signed a order postpone most new work visas for the remainder of the year.
The Washington based Security Policy Center tied up between $ 150,000 and $ 350,000 to spend on 13 employees. The group, which in 2018 reported $ 4.2 million in revenue and compensation expenses half that amount, promotes conspiracy theories so heinous about Muslims that it was banned by the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) .
More recently, the Center for Security Policy called COVID-19 a “Chinese propaganda pandemic”, claiming that Chinese President Xi Jinping “had armed” the virus in an attempt “to attack the United States and divide its leaders”.
China has reportedly imprisoned around one million of its Muslim Uyghur population in concentration camps and reportedly would have put about three million Uyghurs into “deprogramming”. Former National Security Advisor John Bolton writing in the White House, everything Trump told President Xi to “keep building the camps.”