Florida’s Republican leaders are pressing the Biden administration to clarify an alleged collaboration with the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to categorize parental rights groups as “extremist.” The attention is centered on Moms for Liberty and similar associations, which have been included on SPLC’s latest “hate map.”
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rick Scott (R-FL), along with eight GOP House members, authored a letter addressed to Joe Biden seeking transparency regarding a meeting held on January 6 at the White House between Susan Corke, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, and John Picarelli, the National Security Council counterterrorism director.
🚨BREAKING: @Moms4Liberty co-founder @TinaDescovich tells The Daily Signal that Moms for Liberty has invested in extra security ahead of the summit later this week. The SPLC put her group on the same "hate map" that inspired a terror attack in 2012.🚨https://t.co/fa3FIU94hK
— Tyler O'Neil (@Tyler2ONeil) June 27, 2023
The letter states, “This meeting raises serious questions as to whether the White House encouraged SPLC to work on behalf of the administration to label parental rights groups and organizations as ‘extremist groups.'” Rubio and his colleagues are calling for specifics about the gathering between Corke and Picarelli, including the possibility of White House persuasion or incentives for the SPLC to focus on parents’ rights entities.
Adding fuel to the fire is the SPLC’s reputation as a left-wing advocacy group notorious for assimilating mainstream conservative organizations with neo-Nazi and racist cells on its “hate map.” This has sparked increased apprehension among conservatives about potential ties between the White House and SPLC.
Heritage Foundation senior counsel Mike Gonzalez echoed these concerns, questioning the timing between the SPLC’s report and the subsequent White House strategy to protect LGBT communities. In a recent post, he expressed skepticism, stating, “Anything is possible, but Congress ought to investigate if there indeed was a collaboration between the corrupt SPLC and the White House.”
The SPLC controversy extends further with President Biden’s nomination of Nancy Abudu, a top SPLC lawyer, to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which the Senate confirmed in May.
The decision to add parental rights groups to the SPLC’s “hate map” has led to a significant rise in groups marked as such, from 733 in 2021 to 1,225 in 2022. This expansion included hundreds of state and local chapters of organizations such as Moms for Liberty, Parents Rights in Education, and Parents Involved in Education.
The SPLC defended its “hate map,” including these groups, declaring that “schools are a primary target for locally driven extremist mobilization,” prompting an outcry from parents’ rights advocates. Tina Descovich, co-founder of Moms for Liberty, told the Daily Signal, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has put a target on the back of every mom that wants to stand up and speak out on behalf of her child.”
The GOP lawmakers have raised pivotal questions about the alleged White House-SPLC collaboration. The implications of this issue extend to whether the Biden administration agrees with SPLC’s labeling of these parental rights groups as “extremists” and if taxpayers’ money has been used to “target parents.”
These concerns make it evident that the White House owes the public a clear explanation. The freedom to stand up for children’s education is a core value of American society that should never be compromised under the guise of political maneuvers.