Heritage Leaders Help to Reverse GuideStar’s ‘Hate Group’ Annotations for Conservative Groups

HERITAGE IMPACT

Heritage Leaders Help to Reverse GuideStar’s ‘Hate Group’ Annotations for Conservative Groups

July 14th, 2017

Edwin Feulner, founder and president of The Heritage Foundation

The nation’s leading source for non-profit information conceded its use of the “hate group” designation for conservative organizations after Heritage Founder and President Edwin J. Feulner joined conservative leaders in a letter calling for the change.

GuideStar, which calls itself a neutral aggregator of tax data for nonprofit organizations, faced growing criticism after it referred to 46 widely supported and established conservative organizations such as the Family Research Council and American Freedom Defense Initiative as “hate groups.”

This controversial designation by GuideStar prompted Feulner and 41 other conservatives, including Edwin Meese, Heritage’s Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow Emeritus and Heritage Action for America CEO Michael Needham, to protest the decision in a letter obtained exclusively by The Daily Signal

Feulner says this is the first group letter he’s signed in 11 years -- a sign of how passionately he feels about GuideStar’s misstep. 
In the letter, addressed to GuideStar president and CEO Jarod Harold,  Feulner and other conservative leaders asked the organization to remove the designation:

“We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, write to express our strong disagreement with GuideStar’s newly implemented policy that labels 46 American organizations as ‘hate groups.’ Your designations are based on determinations made by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a hard-left activist organization. As such, SPLC’s aggressive political agenda pervades the construction of its ‘hate group’ listings.” Signers of the letter asked Harold “that GuideStar return to its prior, nonpolitical approach to evaluating nonprofit organizations. Please send your reply within one week of receipt of this letter.”

GuideStar released a statement saying it would remove the SPLC’s politically charged annotations after The Daily Signal’s Rachel del Guidice broke the story that received greater exposure after being featured on The Drudge Report.

“We have decided to remove the SPLC annotations from these 46 organizations for the time being,” read a statement posted on GuideStar’s website. “This change will be implemented during the week of June 26, 2017. In the meantime, we will make this information available to any user on request.”

In the future, Guidestar said it hopes “to engage in constructive dialogue with experts from across the political spectrum to help us determine the best way to fulfill this need.”