Jane Fonda Socialist Report
2020-09-20 09:33:24 UTC
visible anti-immigration groups, has taken its feud with a
nonprofit civil rights organization to court, alleging that its
inclusion on the Southern Poverty Law Centers list of known
hate groups violates a federal law originally passed to target
SPLC and its leaders have every right to oppose our work on
immigration, but they do not have the right to label us a hate
group and suggest we are racists, said Mark Krikorian,
executive director of Center for Immigration Studies. The
Center for Immigration Studies is fighting back against the SPLC
smear campaign and its attempt to stifle debate through
intimidation and name-calling.
In the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the
District of Columbia, the Center for Immigration Studies alleges
that the groups inclusion on SPLCs list amounts to wire fraud,
and that it has cost CIS at least $10,000 in material damages.
The complaint also alleges that the purported fraud violates the
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly
known as RICO, a federal law originally written to target
organized crime but now most frequently used to sue businesses
over false statements transmitted through the mail or
This is a scheme to falsely call CIS a hate group, Howard
Foster, the Center for Immigration Studies attorney, told The
Daily Beast. Theyre never going to stop attacking CIS as a
The complaint, filed on Wednesday morning, alleges that the SPLC
has maintained the groups presence on its list of hate groups
despite the Defendants knowledge that CIS did not fit SPLCs
hategroup definition. Naming Richard Cohen, president of the
Southern Poverty Law Center, and Heidi Beirichwho oversees the
SPLCs annual survey of U.S. hate groupsthe group seeks
financial damages and an injunction to bar the SPLC from
further racketeering activity.
CIS regularly opposes higher levels of immigration for sound
public policy reasons, not because of any animus toward
immigrants as human beings, the group said in a release. CIS
hopes this lawsuit will cause Mr. Cohen and Ms. Beirich to turn
their attention to actual cases of racial animus.
Despite its fiery language, experts on RICO told The Daily Beast
that CISs complaint may not hold much legal water.
There are pretty big issues with this complaint, said Jeffrey
E. Grell, an attorney and expert on racketeering law. This
basically all hinges on them being called a hate group by the
SPLC but an opinion isnt fraudulent.
Its just kinda goofy, Grell continued. I dont think it has
a lot of merit, mostly because I dont think its fraud The
Southern Poverty Law Center doesnt say that [its definition] is
the only basis by which you can be defined as a hate group.
Theres so much garbage that gets filed under RICO, Grell
added. If I was a judge, I would dismiss it.
Even the lawyer who wrote the statute told The Daily Beast that
the complaint is slim on details, particularly for a RICO suit.
A quick read says one thing: they are in D.C. asking for
damages and an injunction. RICO is not generally thought to
contain equity relief, said Professor G. Robert Blakey, a law
professor at Notre Dame Law School and the literal author of the
Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, which includes RICO. Not
The SPLC has included CIS in its watch list of hate groups since
2016, following what it called the groups repeated circulation
of white nationalist and antisemitic writers.
It has a history of making racially inflammatory statements,
associating with white nationalists, and circulating the work of
racist writers, Cohen told The Daily Beast. Its lawsuit is
nothing more than a heavy-handed effort to try to silence us
from exercising our First Amendment right to express our
opinion. We look forward to defending ourselves in court.
But the Center for Immigration Studies alleges that it doesnt
fit the SPLCs stated definition of a hate group, which is
described as an organization thathas beliefs or practices that
attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their
SPLC knows that CIS is not a hate group, by its own definition,
yet it calls it a hate group, Foster said.