CEO of Non-Profit Consulting Firm on SPLC’s Offshore Accounts: “It’s Unethical!”
Editor’s Note: Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California-based nonprofit consulting firm, stated, “I’ve never known a US-based nonprofit dealing in human rights or social services to have any foreign bank accounts. It is unethical for any US based charity to invest large sums of money overseas. I know of no legitimate reason for any US based nonprofit to put money in overseas, unregulated bank accounts.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center – that 501(c)(3) non-profit based in Alabama best known for its targeting of conservatives and conservative groups and labeling those as “hate groups” – has been exposed by The Washington Free Beacon for having millions of dollars in offshore entities “as a part of its business dealings, according to records.”
Yes, the non-profit that boasts its “standing for the powerless, the exploited and other victims of discrimination and hate” and its roster of 75 lawyers and advocates that “focus on impact litigation” in various areas, has millions of dollars off-shore and spent only $61,000 on legal services in 2015.
By contrast, the conservative bashing group established by Morris Dees paid $20 million in salaries for the same time period with “the minimum amount paid to an officer, director, trustee, or key employee” $140,000 base salary, excluding other compensation, in 2015.
Top directors receive lucrative six figure salaries.
According to The Washington Free Beacon:
The Southern Poverty Law Center is perhaps best known for its “hate map,” a collection of organizations the nonprofit deems “domestic hate groups” that lists mainstream conservative organizations alongside racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and is often referenced in the media. A gunman opened fire at the Washington, D.C., offices of the conservative Family Research Council in 2012 after seeing it listed as an “anti-gay” group on SPLC’s website.
The SPLC has turned into a fundraising powerhouse, recording more than $50 million in contributions and $328 million in net assets on its 2015 Form 990, the most recently available tax form from the nonprofit. SPLC’s Form 990-T, its business income tax return, from the same year shows that they have “financial interests” in the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, and Bermuda. No information is available beyond the acknowledgment of the interests at the bottom of the form.
However, the Washington Free Beacon discovered forms from 2014 that shed light on some of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s transfers to foreign entities.
The SPLC’s Form 8865, a Return of U.S. Persons With Respect to Certain Foreign Partnerships, from 2014 shows that the nonprofit transferred hundreds of thousands to an account located in the Cayman Islands.
SPLC lists Tiger Global Management LLC, a New York-based private equity financial firm, as an agent on its form. The form shows a foreign partnership between the SPLC and Tiger Global Private Investment Partners IX, L.P., a pooled investment fund in the Cayman Islands. SPLC transferred $960,000 in cash on Nov. 24, 2014 to Tiger Global Private Investment Partners IX, L.P, its records show.
The SPLC’s Form 926, a Return by a U.S. Transferor of Property to a Foreign Corporation, from 2014 shows additional cash transactions that the nonprofit had sent to offshore funds.
The SPLC reported a $102,007 cash transfer on Dec. 24, 2014 to BPV-III Cayman X Limited, a foreign entity located in the Cayman Islands. The group then sent $157,574 in cash to BPV-III Cayman XI Limited on Dec. 31, 2014, an entity that lists the same PO Box address in Grand Cayman as the previous transfer.
The nonprofit pushed millions more into offshore funds at the beginning of 2015.
On March 1, 2015, SPLC sent $2,200,000 to an entity incorporated in Canana Bay, Cayman Islands, according to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) records and run by a firm firm based in Greenwich, Ct. Another $2,200,000 cash transfer was made on the same day to another fund whose business is located at the same address as the previous fund in the Cayman Islands, according to SEC records.
No information is contained on its interests in Bermuda on the 2014 forms. SPLC’s financial stakes in the British Virgin Islands were not acknowledged until its 2015 tax form.
Naturally, the accounting firm refused to provide comment when the Washington Free Beacon contacted the preparer to request more up to date forms.
Doesn’t it seem rather odd for a non-profit organization to have “offshore” accounts amounting to millions while only spending $61,000 in 2015 on litigation, which is listed as its primary focus?
If you agreed it is odd, you would not be alone since it confused tax experts as well.
Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of Pacific Human Capital, a California-based nonprofit consulting firm, stated, “I’ve never known a US-based nonprofit dealing in human rights or social services to have any foreign bank accounts.
My impression based on prior interactions is that they have a small, modestly paid staff, and were regarded by most in the industry as frugal and reliable.”
Ms. Casil indicated she was “stunned” to learn of the millions the SPLC transferred to offshore accounts stating, “It is a huge red flag and would have been completely unacceptable to any wealthy, responsible, experienced board member who was committed to a charitable mission who I ever worked with.”
Casil added, “It is unethical for any US based charity to invest large sums of money overseas. I know of no legitimate reason for any US based nonprofit to put money in overseas, unregulated bank accounts.”
Former Wall Street analyst and financial adviser Charles Oriel told the Free Beacon it seemed very unusual for a 501(c)(3) organization to have several bank accounts in tax haven nations when the group concentrates on “reducing poverty in the American South.”
Oriel is known for helping uncover the 2009 General Electric financial scandal.
If this is “unethical,” very unusual, and no legitimate reason is indicated for having these offshore accounts, why hasn’t the Southern Poverty Law Center been investigated?
Since this type of action is considered a “huge red flag,” why has a blind eye been turned to this organization?
The SPLC created a map that aired on CNN after the Charlottesville, Virginia violent protests showing the location of so-called “hate groups” – 917 in total, with some erroneous errors occurring in the designations.
One organization, Sacramento-based Pacific Justice Institute, appeared on the “hate group” list defends “religious freedom, parental rights, and other civil liberties without charge.”
Another group that made the “hate group” listing, Liberty Counsel, is a “Christian nonprofit that provides pro bono assistance and representation.”
In the aftermath of that protest, the SPLC raised a great deal of money.
Apple donated $1 million to the organization through CEO Tom Cook, who told employees he would match their contributions two to one.
A donation button for the SPLC was added to the iTunes store while another million dollars was donated to the Anti-Defamation League.
The group received another $500,000 for its work “in tracking, exposing, and fighting hate groups and other extremist organizations” from J.P. Morgan Chase.
According to Dan Gainor, Vice President of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center, the SPLC’s assets are so great the organization could operate six years on its current holdings.
“The SPLC is an anti-conservative, anti-Christian hate group that the media have given pretend legitimacy to. One glance at their 990 tax forms is a reminder just what a fund-raising super-power it is,” Dan Gainor, vice president of Business and Culture at the Media Research Center, told the Free Beacon. “Its assets are over $328 million in 2015 and went up $13 million in just one year. It doesn’t need new liberal money. It could operate for at least six years and never raise a penny. It’s like a perpetual motion machine for fundraisers.”
Exactly what is the SPLC doing with all of this money because it certainly is not being spent on litigation?
Moreover, why hasn’t an investigation been launched into this nonprofit for holding offshore bank accounts that confuse even the tax experts?
This group does not help individuals in poverty who need legal assistance nor does it stand up for the “powerless” or the “exploited.”
In reality, this group exploits situations to garner more money to funnel into offshore accounts used for undisclosed purposes.
It engages in a crusade against legitimate organizations and individuals who do not subscribe to the liberal, progressive, socialist/communist/Marxist atheist Democratic left in order to silence opposition.
By designating certain groups as “hate groups,” the SPLC hopes to eradicate freedom of speech until only one voice emerges to influence government – theirs.
Article by Suzanne Hamner