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Cotton seeks IRS' look at law center

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton on Tuesday urged the Internal Revenue Service to examine the nonprofit status of the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The organization, founded in 1971, gained fame by successfully suing and ultimately bankrupting Ku Klux Klan organizations and other white supremacist groups, including the Aryan Nations in northern Idaho.

But the Montgomery, Ala.-based organization has expanded beyond its original focus, and it now targets several conservative groups that have strong Republican or evangelical Christian ties. The center has designated the Family Research Council and the Alliance Defending Freedom as "extremist" and "hate groups" -- allegations both groups deny.

"Their purpose has changed over time," the Republican from Dardanelle said of the center in an interview Thursday. "Now their purpose is to engage in serial repeated defamation of their political opponents. Last I checked, that's not a protected purpose under our charitable tax laws."

The organization, which started small, now has assets of more than $500 million and reportedly holds $121 million in offshore accounts, Cotton noted in a letter to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig.

The organization's co-founder, Morris Dees, was fired last month and other top management resigned. Some women and members of minority groups have portrayed the work environment as hostile, according to recent news reports.

"It is apparently a workplace that is racked with systemic racial discrimination and sexual harassment," Cotton said.

Crawford honors slain serviceman

U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford paid tribute Thursday morning to Sgt. Joseph P. "Joey" Collette, an explosive ordnance disposal technician from Lancaster, Ohio, who died last month during combat operations in Afghanistan.

Collette, 29, was one of two soldiers killed in the northern province of Kunduz. Sgt. 1st Class Will D. Lindsay, 33, of Cortez, Colo., also was killed.

Flags in Ohio flew at half-staff Friday, the day of Collette's funeral.

Crawford, one of the founders of Congress' Explosive Ordnance Caucus, served four years in the Army as an explosive ordnance disposal technician. The Republican from Jonesboro has testified before the House Armed Services Committee about the importance of supporting such efforts.

During Thursday's speech, Crawford portrayed Collette as a devoted warrior and beloved family member.

"Sgt. Collette deeply wanted to deploy overseas for his country in Afghanistan. He was loved and respected by his brothers in arms and is survived by his wife, Caela, whom he had married only two weeks prior to deploying," Crawford said.

Collette leaves behind two children from a previous marriage, his obituary noted.

Via Skype, students meet with Boozman

U.S. Sen. John Boozman visited two classrooms last week with help from the Internet.

Using Skype, the Republican from Rogers spoke Monday with students from Greenbrier Wooster Elementary School. Before the call, the fourth-graders in teacher Angie Miller's class had researched all three branches of the federal government.

Later in the week, Boozman chatted, via Skype, with students at Our Lady of the Holy Souls Catholic School in Little Rock.

Also last week, Boozman introduced a resolution marking the 75th anniversary of Operation Overlord.

It has 17 co-sponsors.

On June 6, 1944, Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, beginning the process of liberating France and smashing the German Reich.

The D-Day landing was "the largest single amphibious assault in history," accomplished with the help of roughly 57,000 U.S. and 153,000 Allied troops, the resolution states.

The world "owes a debt of gratitude to the members of the 'Greatest Generation' who assumed the task of freeing the world from Nazi and Fascist regimes and restoring liberty to Europe," the resolution states.

Numerous Arkansans were in Washington last week, Boozman's office noted, including representatives of the American College of Surgeons, the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, the Alzheimer's Association, the Arkansas Bankers Association, the Arkansas Rehabilitation Association, Rural Health Clinics, Save the Children Action Network, the Arkansas Cattlemen's Association, the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association, the American College of Gastroenterology, the American Association for Justice's Women Trial Lawyers Caucus, and the National Roofing Contractors Association.

Planning to visit the nation's capital? Know something happening in Washington, D.C.? Please contact Frank Lockwood at (202) 662-7690 or flockwood@arkansasonline.com. Want the latest from the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Washington bureau? It's available on Twitter, @LockwoodFrank.

SundayMonday on 04/07/2019

Print Headline: Washington news in brief

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  • limb
    April 7, 2019 at 9:22 a.m.

    Cotton must be thirsty to aid white nationalism and KKK groups in his constituent base.

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