Trump’s personal criminal lawyer Jay Sekulow is now under investigation by the attorney general’s of North Carolina and New York after it was reported that he and his family took millions of dollars in overcompensation from a nonprofit he was running.
Documents by the Guardian show that Sekulow and people close to him received more than $60 million from a Christian nonprofit since 2000 instead of using it for charity purposes. Sekulow has also allied himself with conservative televangelist Pat Robertson.
Among some of the payments given:
Sekulow paid $11.3 million to his own company Regency Productions.
Sekulow gave himself $3.3 million for his work and his wife $1.2 million in compensation for serving as a treasurer and secretary.
Sekulow gave his brothers wife $6.2 million for media production services and for the lease of a private jet, owned by his own company, as well.
Sekulow gave his two sons and his brother’s son and daughter $1.7 million.
Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (Case), the name of the nonprofit, the report alleges, basically went after low-income people with the use of telemarketers, asking them to provide “sacrificial gifts,” in the name of God. They used lines such as:
“I can certainly understand how that would make it difficult for you to share a gift like that right now,” they told retirees who said they were on fixed incomes and had “no extra money” – before asking if they could spare “even $20 within the next three weeks.”
Here’s a form his nonprofit used to solicit donations from people when they offered excuses on why they couldn’t donate. The goal was to get as much money as possible.
Now – it’s not against the law to pay yourself a salary when running a nonprofit, but it is when you pay yourself excessive benefits. So far, Sekulow has declined to personally say how the $60 million he took from the nonprofit is reasonable. Hey, you have to afford that private jet somehow.
“I can’t imagine this situation being acceptable,” said Arthur Rieman, managing attorney at the California-based Law Firm for Nonprofits. “That kind of money is practically unheard of in the nonprofit world, and these kinds of transactions I could never justify.”
What’s also troubling is that the telemarketers working for Case were instructed to advise people that Sekulow “never charges for his services” if people ever asked. That’s very misleading given the amount of money he has received.
Just recently Sekulow went on national TV and got into an interesting exchange with Fox News Host Chris Wallace.
He started the interview by saying two times that President Trump was being investigated. Then, somehow, he tried to say that Trump wasn’t under investigation. Here’s a short transcript of the heated exchange, after Chris Wallace called him out for it.
Wallace: Well, I–what–what…First of all, you’ve now said that he is being investigated —
Wallace: You –just said, sir, that he’s being–
Sekulow: No, he’s not being investigated!
Wallace: You just said that he’s being investigated.
Sekulow: No, Chris, I said that — let me be crystal clear so you completely understand. We have not received, nor are we aware of any investigation of the president of the united States.
Wallace: Sir, you just said two times that he’s being investigated.
Holy crap. This exchange between Chris Wallace and Trump’s lawyer is absolutely incredible. pic.twitter.com/Wem33Lc1VK
— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 18, 2017