A nonprofit run by Jay Sekulow steered millions of dollars to his family members, according to a report in The Guardian published Tuesday.
Sekulow is one of President Donald Trump’s lawyers and has emerged as the public face of his legal team. He also runs a nonprofit called Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, or Case. Its sister organisation is the American Center for Legal Justice.
The Guardian obtained documents that it said showed that Sekulow approved plans in 2009 — at the height of the recession — “to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit.”
Guardian reporter Jon Swaine also found that Case had pushed “more than $US60m to Sekulow, his family, and their businesses” since 2000.
Sekulow and his family may be in violation of a federal law prohibiting nonprofits from paying “excessive benefits” to the people running them, according to experts who spoke to The Guardian.
Here are some parts of the nonprofit that stood out, according to The Guardian:
- Millions of dollars in donations were used to pay Sekulow, his wife, his sons, and his extended family.
- A law firm co-owned by Sekulow and a production company he owns were paid tens of millions of dollars by Case.
- Case provided “a series of unusual loans and property deals” to Sekulow and his family.
“I can’t imagine this situation being acceptable,” Arthur Rieman, a managing attorney at The Law Firm for Nonprofits, in California, told The Guardian. “That kind of money is practically unheard of in the nonprofit world, and these kinds of transactions I could never justify.”
Sekulow’s spokesman, Gene Kapp, sent this statement to The Guardian:
“The financial arrangements between the ACLJ, Case and all related entities are regularly reviewed by outside independent compensation experts and have been determined to be reasonable. In addition, each entity has annual independent outside audits performed by certified public accounting firms. Further, the IRS has previously conducted audits of the ACLJ and Case and found them to be in full compliance of all applicable tax laws.”
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