High-profile firing adds to troubles for watchdog group

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The high-profile firing of the founder of a liberal group best known for monitoring hate organizations is only the latest trouble for the multimillion-dollar nonprofit.

The Southern Poverty Law Center announced Thursday it had dismissed its 82-year-old founder, Morris Dees. A statement from the group says it must act when staff conduct doesn't meet its standards.

The firing could be a blow to the Alabama-based organization since Dees is arguably its best-known public face with donors who helped the organization build assets totaling $450 million.

The move comes months after the law center agreed to a $3.4 million settlement after wrongly labeling a British organization and its founder as extremists. The law center or its staffers face three similar lawsuits from conservative groups.