Roy Moore is a defrocked Alabama supreme court justice,1 a virulent racist and a Christianist. Oh, and the likely new U.S. Senator from Alabama, replacing Jeff Sessions.
Moore is also a liar, and a tax cheat.
He’s a liar, because he claimed he did not take a “regular salary” from the Foundation for Moral Law, a small charity he founded to promote Moore’s ideas of “Christian values.” He said he “did not want to be a financial burden.”
In fact, the Washington Post reports, he received a salary of $180,000 a year for part-time service. Nice work, if you can get it.
Moore collected more than $1 million as his foundation’s president from 2007 to 2012. That compensation is not reported in Foundation for Moral Law’s tax returns, a serious violation of federal law.
The Post reports that when the charity couldn’t afford to pay Moore that outrageous salary, Moore caused the Foundation to give him a promissory note for back pay that will eventually be worth $540,000 or an equal stake of the charity’s most valuable asset, a historic building in Montgomery, Alabama.[^2]
WC supposes that, technically, Moore didn’t take a “regular salary,” but rather an outrageous one. But that just means he lied about the financial burden business. So, yeah, a liar.
The tax cheat issue is even clearer. As a founder and president of his “Foundation,” Moore was a “disqualified person” for purposes of the Internal Revenue Code. That means his compensation is subject to review and limited to a reasonable amount. Otherwise, it is an “excess benefit transaction” and Moore subject to some very beefy sanctions. Moore not only got an extremely high salary for a guy working part-time; the “foundation” has provided Moore with health-care benefits, travel expenses and a bodyguard, documents show.
Moore’s Foundation’s website routinely promoted Moore’s speaking engagements and his book, “So Help Me God: The Ten Commandments, Judicial Tyranny, and the Battle for Religious Freedom.” Again, according to the Post, in his last two years as president, as fundraising dwindled, Moore’s compensation amounted to about a third of the contributions to the group, tax filings show.
All of those things are badges of excess benefits. Moore, if found to have received excess benefits, would be liable for penalties amounting to 225% of the total compensation Moore has received. That would be over $2 million.
More than that, Moore’s “foundation,” as a charitable organization, is flatly prohibited from involving itself in political campaigns of any kind, let alone Moore’s failed candidacy for Alabama governor and his ongoing campaign for the U.S. Senate. Yet the Foundation’s primary expenses since 2011 have been to keep its boy in the public eye and tout his zealotry. If WC or you did any of that, the IRS would all over us like ticks on a dog.
But defrocked state supreme court justices and Christianist senate candidates, apparently don’t have to follow the law. Folks like that, apparently, can twist the law to suit their own purposes. It’s not what WC looks for in either a supreme court justice or a U.S. Senator, and if Alabama voters aren’t careful, they’re going to get this dumpster fire as their Senator.
And it certainly gives a strange definition to “Moral Law.” Call it “Moore Law” instead.
- Moore was elected to the position of Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2001, but removed from his position in November 2003 by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments commissioned by him from the Alabama Judicial Building, despite orders to do so by a federal court. Moore twice sought the Republican nomination for the governorship of Alabama (in 2006 and 2010), but lost in the primaries. Moore was again elected Chief Justice in 2013, but was suspended in May 2016, for directing probate judges to continue to enforce the state’s ban on same-sex marriage despite the fact that it had been deemed unconstitutional. Following an unsuccessful appeal, Moore resigned in April 2017. Only in Alabama could some with that resumé get elected anything but dogcatcher. ↩