SPLC - Fiscal Irresponsibility

DiscoverTheNetworks.org quite pointedly says that: 

Dees is known to be the architect of one of SPLC's most effective - and most controversial - tactics: exaggerating the prevalence and capabilities of racist and extremist rightwing groups operating in the United States in order to frighten supporters into donating money to SPLC."5

Yet the tax-exempt Southern Poverty Law Center failed an audit by the Arlington-based Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance. The SPLC failed the Alliance's requirement that "a reasonable percentage, at least 50 percent of total income from all sources, should be applied to programs and activities directly related to the purposes for which the organization exists." According to the audit, the SPLC spent 89 percent of its total income on fund raising and administrative costs.3

At the same time, SPLC CEO Joseph Levin made $231,036 per year, and Morris Dees, SPLC's founder, made an astounding $280,699.3  

A National Journal survey of salaries paid to the top officers of advocacy groups revealed that in 1998, Morris Dees pulled in more than nearly all of the seventy-eight officers surveyed. He pulled in tens of thousands more than directors of groups such as the ACLU, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Children's Defense Fund.2

The SPLC earned $44 million in 1999 alone: $27 million resulting from fund-raising, plus $17 million from stocks and investments. But they spent only $13 million on civil rights programs, thus making it one of the most profitable charities in the country.2

Charity Navigator gave the Southern Poverty Law Center an overall rating of only one star out of five and a score of only 39 in 2004.15 The SPLC received a one star rating in 2003 and a two star rating in 2002, although scores have risen recently.
The State of Colorado has placed the SPLC on their Charity Watch list as one of ten charities to watch out for.21 The American Institute of Philanthropy's Charity Watch downgraded the SPLC to an overall rating of F in August, 2009, December, 2008, and in 2000 because of the SPLC's extraordinarily high asset levels that were not spent on program services.15