Watchdog group’s leader steps down after founder’s firing

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The head of the Southern Poverty Law Center is stepping down, the latest high-profile departure from the watchdog organization best known for its work monitoring extremist groups.

SPLC President Richard Cohen on Friday sent an email to staff announcing his resignation. Cohen wrote that “whatever problems exist at the SPLC happened on my watch, so I take responsibility for them.”

Cohen asked the organization’s board to immediately begin the search for an interim president “in order to give the organization the best chance to heal.”

The organization last week fired founder and prominent civil rights attorney Morris Dees for unspecified conduct.

The group announced it hired a one-time aide to former first lady Michelle Obama to review workplace practices.

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