Huntsville, Alabama news station WHNT:
The Republican Senate Nominee Roy Moore was the keynote speaker Thursday night at the Madison County Liberty Gala. It was his first major public appearance since several news stories broke this week involving his personal and campaign finances.
Most notably, the Washington Post ran a story about him taking more than a million dollars in undisclosed money from a charity, later run by Moore’s wife.
Moore was scheduled to speak to reporters after the speech, but we got word just about an hour before his address that Moore was not going to be taking any questions.
No reason was given for why that was canceled.
Moore did not directly address any of the controversies that surrounded his campaign but did say, he’s been accused of things he has not done…
Urban cynic that I am, I begin to suspect that ol’ Judge Moore had settled happily into a quasi-legitimate semi-retirement grift until the unexpected success of a certain Donald Trump roiled up the rubes all across thisyere great nation. What with a Godless fella like Trump getting his face and philosophy all over the tee-vee, suddenly doing a trickle of expense-account speaking gigs while his family cashed steady checks for their talent at being related to Judge Moore just didn’t seem… sufficient for God’s devoted servant.
Then the WaPo struck again — “Charity once led by Roy Moore has listed its headquarters for sale, a move that could bring him $540,000 windfall”:
… The 1850s-era building was put on the market in April for nearly $1.9 million by Moore’s wife, Kayla, now president of the charity, said Ed Fleming, the listing agent for the property. Fleming said Kayla Moore and her husband were “thinking of moving and retiring” at the time.
“I deal with Kayla. She made the decision,” he said.
The circumstances of the listing add to questions swirling around the charity and more than $1 million in compensation for Roy Moore while he was working part time from 2007 to 2012. Kayla Moore took over as president in 2013, earning $65,000 a year.
On Wednesday, The Washington Post revealed that the nonprofit group, the Foundation for Moral Law, agreed to pay Moore $180,000 in annual salary, far more than the charity reported paying him in most of those years, and to honor the agreement even in years it did not have enough in contributions.
Moore was given a promissory note for back pay in 2011, tax filings and mortgage documents show, the first public indication that his annual compensation surpassed what had been reported. The note, backed by a second mortgage on the building that serves as the charity’s headquarters, was eventually worth $540,000, mortgage records show.
Kayla and Roy Moore declined multiple requests for interviews…
The charity was founded during Moore’s legal battle over his decision to install a granite Ten Commandments monument in the state Supreme Court building. Moore joined it after he was ousted from the court for refusing to remove the monument. The charity bought the building in 2005 for $546,000 and spent hundreds of thousands more to renovate it…
The charity has filed scores of legal briefs in cases involving conservative Christian issues. It also has helped Moore maintain his national profile by promoting his speaking events.
Maybe Miz Kayla was the smarter half of this couple: take an immediate profit, shut down the bucket shop, go live quiet for a while and wait for the national media storm to blow over.
There’s an old saying that Nobody knows who’s swimming naked until the tide goes out — and it looks like Trump just might be the giant luminous object sucking away all the two-bit local scams and side cons to expose a great many Talibangelical figures as more dedicated to Mammon than their old-testament Father. Given as I myself believe Murphy the Trickster God rules politics, it sure would be entertaining if Judge Stone Tablets ended up as the poster child for this bunch.
Steve Benen, at MSNBC:
…To state the obvious, this paints an unflattering picture of the extremist Republican, not only because he appears to have made misleading claims about his compensation at the Foundation for Moral Law, but also because there are legal questions about the organization’s tax filings.
Indeed, the Washington Post’s article referenced “errors and gaps in the group’s federal tax filings,” which had been “obscured until now.” The article added, “Seven charity and tax law specialists consulted by The Post said the nonprofit’s activities raised questions about compliance with IRS rules, including prohibitions on the use of a charity for the private benefit or enrichment of an individual.”
And given the available information, it sure looks like Moore and his family – his wife and kids are paid employees – used that charity for their enrichment. Indeed, the Post’s report added that the group, among other things, paid Moore’s travel expenses, promoted his book and public appearances, and even hired a bodyguard.
The story is starting to get some pickup locally, with the Alabama Media Group’s Kyle Whitmire writing a column today describing Moore as “a man of principal, not principle.”
The special election in Alabama is two months from today…
Might be a long two months, for some.
Aaaand here’s our ActBlue fund for Roy Moore’s Democratic opponent Doug Jones, who is worth supporting regardless: