Fourteen organizations identified as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League have a total of 4.3 funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the Small Business Administration that benefited from the federal pandemic Million dollars in funding.
These organizations include the New Century Foundation, known for publishing the white supremacist website, and the now-discontinued American Renaissance magazine. This group is led by the well-known white supremacist Jared Taylor, who has argued for decades that immigration policy should be aimed at “keeping the country white”. The New Century Foundation received $ 51,600 in grants.
Analysis by NBC News, one of eleven newsrooms suing over the publication of data, was based on hate groups identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center or the Anti-Defamation League that received PPP money and primarily targeted the Advocacy from immigrants and the opposition focused on promoting gay and transgender rights. NBC News reviewed the PPP data against 73 different designated hate groups whose work and advocacy aims to attack, defame, and delegitimize entire classes of people based on their ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or disability.
The same list of hate groups was used earlier this year in a rating for research by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank against extremism, and the Global Disinformation Index, a non-profit research group, which analyzed how hate groups raise money and raise money online Payments reported solely by NBC News. All groups assessed were also active from 2020 and actively promote hateful ideologies, be it through literature, online content or grassroots organization. In total, the 14 accused hate groups who received aid funds analyzed by NBC News received PPP loans totaling US $ 4.3 million. In total, more than 5.2 million PPP loans valued at more than $ 525 billion have been approved, according to the SBA.
Groups that have received funding include the American Family Association, a group that opposes what its leaders refer to as the “homosexual agenda”. It received $ 1,390,800 in PPP funding. The Federation for American Immigration Reform known as FAIR, an anti-immigration group formed by leaders with ties to white supremacists, also received $ 683,680 from the aid program.
Anti-LGBT groups that have received aid include Church Militant, an organization running a media operation advocating for so-called gay conversion therapies, linking homosexuality to pedophilia and on Facebook, YouTube and its own website large followers achieved. The group received a $ 301,100 PPP loan, according to SBA data.
The results of the NBC News analysis worried some experts who follow the work of these specific hate groups.
“When it comes to the speed at which the PPP money had to be approved – because people’s livelihoods were at stake – it was expected that some would take advantage of the system,” said Joan Donovan, research director at the Shorenstein Center Media, Politics and Public Order at Harvard University, studying how hate groups work online. “Given that some of them were known hate groups, a government review should be carried out to ensure that these funds have been spent in the right way and not to encourage any hateful activities that these groups may be involved in. “
The Small Business Administration said in a statement that it was not commenting on any individual borrowers or loans. It has been repeated that just because a loan was made by the agency does not mean that the recipient was eligible to receive it, or that the loan will ultimately be granted.
“SBA takes taxpayers’ money seriously and has developed a solid credit screening process to ensure that only eligible borrowers receive loans that fully meet program requirements,” said an SBA spokesman.
To be fair, many advocacy and nonprofits have received PPP loans. According to NBC News, approximately 3.5 percent of total PPP funding and 7 percent of the total dollar amount went to nonprofits.
Responses from recipients
NBC asked all 14 groups how they used their PPP money and if there were any specific projects or revenue-generating activities that were suspended during the pandemic and were supplemented by the aid funds. Six of the 14 groups responded.
“FAIR fully abides by rules and laws, and we are working within the intent and spirit of the PPP program,” said Ira Mehlman, media director for the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
Church Militant denied the SPLC’s designation of the organization as a hate group, saying it had no response.
The Center for Family and Human Rights also denied his hate group status. The American College of Pediatricians, also on that list, called the SPLC’s hate group a “mischaracterization.”
The Liberty Counsel, who received $ 428,100 in PPP funds and was classified by the SPLC as a hate group for its anti-LGBTQ advocacy, said the funds were used on staff salaries, making the organization theirs could maintain entire workforce without firing any of its 35 employees. Mat Staver, chairman and founder of the Liberty Counsel, added that his organization worked in Washington, DC to help provide PPP aid to nonprofits, regardless of their views.
The American Family Association and the New Century Foundation did not respond to requests for comment.
The reporting showing that these groups have received funding alarmed the experts who are following them.
“Extremist movements thrive in climates of political uncertainty,” said Cassie Miller, senior research analyst at SPLC. “In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, right-wing extremists have exploited people’s fears and complaints to promote their ideologies. But now the government is doing even more to help hate groups by giving them millions of dollars in futile loans. “
Andrew W. Teaching contributed to this.