The Southern Poverty Law Center is a thriving business. The Alabama-based "nonprofit" firm has become a font of riches for founder Morris Dees and his associates. Its last tax return (2005) showed it took in nearly $111 million in donations the previous four years alone and reported assets of $189.4 million at the end of 2005.
Its business is fundraising, and its success at raking in the cash is based on its ability to sell gullible people on the idea that present-day America is awash in white racism and anti-Semitism, which it will fight tooth-and-nail as the public interest law firm it purports to be. That might lead a skeptic to wonder why it spends little on litigation and why Mr. Dees pockets a lot of money sent in by panicked donors who buy into the smear campaigns against organizations or prominent individuals who question racial preference programs.