Liberty Counsel Responds to GuideStar

Aug 8, 2017

Last night, Liberty Counsel filed a response countering GuideStar's request to dismiss the lawsuit against it for intentionally damaging Liberty Counsel's reputation by falsely labeling it a "hate group." It is clear this case should continue. GuideStar intended to damage Liberty Counsel's reputation in the mind of the public and especially current and potential donors. This politically-motivated label has exposed Liberty Counsel to potential violence and even death threats, causing additional expense increasing security to protect its staff from an attack similar to the one against the Family Research Council in 2012 and that one that seriously injured Representative Steve Scalise, who was discharged from the hospital less than two weeks ago.

The case has a very low standard to meet to continue. Precedent states that even if proof is "improbable" and "recovery is very remote" that a "well plead complaint may proceed." Liberty Counsel's case significantly surpasses this low bar with accurate facts and harm caused by GuideStar's reckless action. GuideStar presented the "hate group" label as "fact." GuideStar issued a statement saying it will continue to provide the SPLC "hate group" information upon request and is considering other ways to distribute this incorrect information to the public.

"If GuideStar has nothing to hide, why is the organization so desperately fighting the discovery phase of our lawsuit? This 'hate group' label is false, defamatory, and dangerous," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "There are unstable people who have listened to this reckless rhetoric and used it to justify physical harm and even attempted murder because of these false, politically-motivated labels. GuideStar is playing with fire, and other innocent lives will be hurt by its reckless allegations. Liberty Counsel is not a 'hate group' and opposes violence," said Staver.

GuideStar used the Southern Poverty Law Center(SPLC) false and dangerous "hate group" rhetoric. The SPLC has admitted James Hodgkinson, the D.C. shooter who gunned down Rep. Steve Scalise, two staff members and two U.S. Capitol Police officers, "liked" the SPLC on Facebook. In addition, the SPLC is also linked to the attempted mass murder in the 2012 shooting at the Family Research Council by Floyd Corkins II, who intended to commit mass murder and was motivated by the so-called "Hate Map" on the SPLC website.

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