Southern Poverty Surpasses Half Billion in Assets; $121 Million Now Offshore

Reports $518 million in total assets despite $21 million fall in donations

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center / Getty Images
March 12, 2019

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a far-left nonprofit known for its "hate group" designations, has surpassed a half billion dollars in total assets and now has $121 million parked offshore, according to the group's most recent financial statements.

The SPLC, which is based in Montgomery, Ala., has not publicly posted its most recent financial statements on its website. However, the organization applied for renewal in the state of California days ago and submitted a number of documents pertaining to its financial standing including its most recent audited statement and tax forms for calendar year 2018, which covers Nov. 1, 2017 to Oct. 31, 2018.

According to the filings submitted to California's Office of Attorney General, the group reported total assets of $518 million from November 2017 to the Oct. 31, 2018, an increase of $41 million from the $477 million in total assets it reported on its previous year's tax forms.

The SPLC's assets increased despite its total revenue falling by $15 million last year. The SPLC hauled in $136 million in total revenue throughout 2017. This number fell to $121 million in 2018. Its contributions and grants also fell by more than $20 million from 2017 to 2018, from $132 million to $111 million.

Despite the fall in revenue, the SPLC's vast investment portfolio expanded in 2018, which included a drastic increase in the amount of money it has parked overseas. By the end of 2018, its non-U.S. equity funds rose to $121 million, an uptick of nearly $30 million from the $92 million it had parked in offshore investments throughout 2017.

While little is known about its actual transfers to offshore entities, in 2017 the Washington Free Beacon discovered foreign forms from the group that showed a small fraction of its previous transactions to a number of entities located in the Cayman Islands. Those foreign forms are not required to be publicly disclosed by the SPLC and are the only known forms showing the nature of its transfers to offshore entities. The SPLC also has interests in Bermuda and the British Virgin Islands.

In addition to the $121 million now in non-U.S. equities, the far-left organization reported $91 million in U.S. public equity funds. Its U.S. and non-U.S. equities include publicly traded stocks of domestic and international corporations. The $92 million the group had tied up in U.S. public equity funds last year was $16 million more than it had the year before.

The SPLC also had $60 million in private equity funds, or investments in buyouts, venture capital, and distressed companies while another $24 million was in real asset funds, which include investments in real estate and natural resources such as oil, gas, and commodities, according to its forms.

One new development on its 2018 financial statements is the formation of another entity tied to the organization.

According to the audited financial statement, the SPLC formed an Action Fund in June 2018, which is consolidated since the SPLC has "both an economic interest in the Action Fund and control of the Action Fund through a majority voting interest in its governing board."

The SPLC's Action Fund filed an application for tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, or that of a "social welfare" group. The Action Fund allows the group "greater flexibility" to engage in "legislative battles at every level of government" and to support "critical ballot initiatives."

The SPLC did not respond to a request for comment on its most recent financial statements by press time.

Last year, the Daily Caller reported the SPLC partnered with tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter to help the companies determine who are "hate groups." PayPal had also partnered with the SPLC to help determine who should be "blacklisted" from their company.

The SPLC has come under fire for lumping in mainstream conservative groups, such as the Family Research Council, into categories with actual "hate groups" such as the Ku Klux Klan.

Dozens of organizations contemplated suing the SPLC over its hate group designations after the SPLC had entered into a $3 million settlement with Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer, after including him in its 2016 "Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists."

Additionally, a lawsuit was later filed against the SPLC alleging that the nonprofit runs an "illegal racket to silence political opponents."

Published under: SPLC