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The domestic terrorist who carried out the politically-motivated shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC) gets sentenced this week and it should not be forgotten that he got his target list from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit that features conservative organizations on a catalogue of “hate groups.”

Floyd Lee Corkins, who has pleaded guilty in the shooting, has admitted that he got his target list, which included the FRC, from the SPLC, a leftwing civil rights group that labels conservatives who disagree with it on social issues hateful. The SPLC’s website features a map of the United States that helps locate what it labels as hate groups around the nation. When an area of the map is clicked, a list appears with the name and location of hate groups. There’s also a “select a state” box where you can simply write in the state and hate groups appear for that particular area.

The FRC, a Christian organization that promotes the traditional family unit and the Judeo- Christian value system, appears on that hate map under Washington D.C. In mid-August of last year Corkins stormed into the FRC’s Washington D.C. headquarters with the intention of killing as many employees as possible, according to a news report that cites legal documents. He had purchased a semiautomatic pistol from a Virginia store the day before the rampage.  

Corkins shot an unarmed security guard at the FRC, but the security guard was able to subdue him after a struggle that left the guard with a bullet in one arm. Earlier this year Corkins pleaded guilty to three serious crimes; committing an act of terrorism while armed, assault with intent to kill while armed and interstate transportation of a firearm and ammunition for the shooting. Corkins is the first defendant to be convicted under the D.C.’s Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, which prosecutes crimes committed to “intimidate or coerce a significant population of the District of Columbia or the United States.”

When federal investigators questioned him after the shooting Corkins explained that he attacked the FRC’s headquarters because the SPLC identified it as a hate group. “I found them online, did a little research, went to the website, stuff like that,” he tells authorities in the chilling  interrogation video which is posted on the FRC’s website. “The SPLC’s reckless labeling has led to devastating consequences,” FRC President Tony Perkins said at the time. “Because of its ‘hate group’ labeling, a deadly terrorist had a guidemap to FRC and other organizations.”

In a statement to the court this week, the FRC says its staff lives in fear of a repeat attack and that “every day many on our team are reminded of the attack and relive the trauma.” The statement also reminds the sentencing judge that the gunman’s stated intention was to send a political message by killing as many of its staff as possible and that he was “clearly inspired” by the SPLC’s labeling of FRC has a hate group.

Following the shooting Judicial Watch launched an investigation into what influence the SPLC’s branding of hate groups has had on U.S. government agencies. In January JW obtained nearly 24 pages of emails from U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights and Tax divisions revealing questionable behavior by agency personnel while negotiating for SPLC’s co-founder Morris Dees to appear as the featured speaker at a July 31, 2012, “Diversity Training Event.”

Judicial Watch Represents Family Research Council in Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit over Justice Department’s Undermining of DOMA

Contact Information: Press Office 202-646-5172, ext 305

Washington, DC — August 31, 2011

Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit on August 29, 2011, against the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) on behalf of the Family Research Council (FRC) for records related to the DOJ’s decision not to defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in any pending or future litigation (Family Research Council Inc. v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 11-1550)).

FRC seeks documents from the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to determine the purported basis for the decision and the possible influence of homosexual activists on the decision. In a separate lawsuit, Judicial Watch attempts to obtain some of these same documents (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 11-803)).

On February 23, 2011, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Obama DOJ would not defend the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA as applied to same-sex married couples. Less than three hours after Attorney General Holder’s announcement, litigants seeking to strike down California’s traditional marriage definition filed a motion to vacate the stay of its case with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. In its motion, the litigants cited to, and quoted from, Attorney General Holder’s letter to the Congress.

On June 2, 2011, the DOJ informed FRC by letter that it had searched and identified 357 pages of email chains responsive to the FOIA request, 27 pages of which were claimed to be exempted and were withheld. On June 27, 2011, FRC filed an administrative appeal of the withholdings but the DOJ has not responded despite being required to do so by law.

“When Barack Obama became president, he took an oath to uphold our laws – and not just the ones with which he personally agrees. If he’ll undermine this law, which one is next? This isn’t just a threat to marriage. It’s a threat to the entire democratic process. If the Obama administration has nothing to hide, then why stonewall?” stated Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. “We have serious concerns that the Justice Department wants to hide evidence that it was doing the bidding of campaign donors and homosexual activists from whom Obama will need assistance for his reelection.”

“Once again the Obama administration is playing politics with the Freedom of Information Act to avoid telling the American people the truth about one of its indefensible positions,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The evidence suggests the nation’s highest law enforcement is refusing to enforce the law to appease another special interest group.”

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