SPLC takes flak for large offshore bank accounts

The Southern Poverty Law Center is a strictly U.S.-based organization, but it has more than $4 million allocated in investment accounts in the Cayman Islands, an investigative-news analysis of its 2014 tax documents reported.
By David Sims | Sep 05, 2017
The Southern Poverty Law Center is a strictly U.S.-based organization, but it has more than $4 million allocated in investment accounts in the Cayman Islands, an investigative-news analysis of its 2014 tax documents reported. The revelations, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, drew condemnations from many of the SPLC's conservative Republican critics.
"It is shocking that a U.S.-based 'charitable' organization stashes millions of dollars in offshore accounts. I can think of no reason for doing so," said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of the Liberty Counsel, one of dozens of conservative groups listed on the SPLC's "hate map" of far-right organizations. And Fox News host Tucker Carlson cited the accounts in a Thursday night segment in which he blasted the SPLC as a "totally fake organization."
A lot of nonprofits are investing in overseas investment accounts as a way to maximize the funds they can spend on their missions, according to the Baltimore Sun, which noted that the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Humane Society of the United States, and Johns Hopkins University have all moved money overseas. The practice is legal, even for nonprofits.
But even some nonprofit analysts found cause for concern when they compared the size of the investment account transfers with the amounts of SPLC's actual work expenses. In 2015, for example, the organization spent only $61,000 on legal services while transferring nearly $2 million out of the country. Amy Sterling Casil, CEO of the nonprofit-consulting firm Pacific Human Capital, said that these overseas accounts are "a huge red flag" that would be "completely unacceptable to any wealthy, responsible, experienced board member who was committed to a charitable mission who I ever worked with."

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