Ruh Roh: Southern Poverty Law Center’s Criteria for Naming ‘Hate Groups’ Subpoenaed

Barb Wire

( —  A local official in Virginia has subpoenaed the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the SPLC Task Force on Hate in the Public Sphere for the criteria it uses to designate other organizations as “hate groups.” The subpoenas were filed February 28th in Loudoun County Circuit Court. They request “all written criteria, guidelines, bylaws or rules used by Southern Poverty Law Center to designate organizations or groups as ‘hate groups’ from the inception of the Southern Poverty Law Center to the present date.” (See Delgaudio_Vs-SPLC_Inc-.pdf & Delgaudio Vs. SPLC Taskforce.pdf)Leesburg, Va. attorney Charles King filed the subpoenas on behalf of four-term incumbent Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), who is battling an effort to remove him from office under a rarely used Virginia law that allows elected officials to be ousted for “[a] neglect of duty, [b] misuse of office, or [c] incompetence in the performance of duties.”The designation of Public Advocate of the United States, the conservative 501(c)(4)group Delgaudio runs, as a “hate group” by the SPLC was specifically cited in the complaint against him filed in court:

“The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) charged that Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio heads a gay-bashing ‘hate group’ called ‘Public Advocate’ and the charge is indisputable; Mr. Delgaudio has merged his function as an elected official of this County with his advocacy for this ‘hate group,’ Public Advocate.

“Accordingly, Mr. Delgaudio has neglected his duty to maintain this ‘hate group’ as a separate undertaking from his elected duties as a Supervisor, and thus misused his office in this regard, and recklessly exposed our Board to charges that we endorse intolerance toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered persons, fairly described as ‘gay bashing’ given Public Advocate’s declared agenda,” the complaint, which was filed on January 27, stated.

SPLC’s website says it “monitors hate groups and other extremists throughout the United States and exposes their activities to law enforcement agencies, the media and the public.” Public Advocate is listed on SPLC’s “hate map” as one of 26 groups designated as such in Virginia and is also listed in SPLC’s “Anti- LGBT” category.

“I’m asking for the file on Supervisor Delgaudio and Public Advocate because they’ve done this to a number of other conservative organizations,” King told “He doesn’t do anything other than advocate that people write or call their congressmen, using skits, petition drives, rallies and protests. This is all First Amendment stuff.”

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Noting that nearly every news article mentioning Public Advocate refers to it as a “hate group,” King added: “My question is: What does that mean?

“This is not some guy in camo advocating the overthrow of the government in a compound in Iowa. He has views on traditional values and marriage. I want to know why that is hate. I want to know what the criteria is. What does it mean to be a hate group?”

King is requesting all research, electronic or written correspondence, witness testimony, and “all staff memorandums and writings of any kind,” including minutes and videos of staff meetings, that were used by SPLC to come to the conclusion that Public Advocate is a “hate group.”

“It’s very different to call a pro-family group the same thing you’d call white supremacists or the [Ku Klux] KIan,” King added. “They’ve lowered the bar on hate.”

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