CIS v. Cohen and Beirich


The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) filed a civil RICO lawsuit against Richard Cohen, President of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) of Montgomery, Ala. The case seeks damages from lost donations and an injunction prohibiting Cohen and his colleague, Heidi Beirich, who heads SPLC’s “hate group” project, from repeating the false claim that CIS is a hate group.

The case is brought pursuant to the federal RICO statute because Cohen and Beirich have been carrying out their scheme to destroy CIS through the SPLC enterprise for two years and will not stop without judicial intervention. The complaint makes clear that the Defendants know CIS does not meet its own definition of a “hate group,” which SPLC describes as an organization whose “official statements or principles… attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”  CIS has not attacked or maligned immigrants.  CIS regularly opposes higher levels of immigration for sound public policy reasons, not because of any animus toward immigrants as human beings.

The case is filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  On September 13, 2019, the District Court dismissed the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6).  CIS filed its notice of appeal, which is currently pending in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.   Check back here for further updates.

For more information contact Howard Foster, attorney for CIS.