Charities steered $65M to Trump lawyer Sekulow and family

Jay Sekulow, speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Jay Sekulow, one of President Donald Trump’s lead attorneys during the impeachment trial, is being paid for his legal work through a rented $80-a-month mailbox a block away from the White House.

The Pennsylvania Avenue box appears to be the sole physical location of the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, a for-profit corporation co-owned by Sekulow. The firm has no website and is not listed in national legal directories. The District of Columbia Bar has no record of it, and no attorneys list it as their employer.

A half dozen lawyers employed by the non-profit ACLJ are named in recent Senate legal briefs as members of Trump’s defense team — including one of Sekulow’s sons. The ACLJ, as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, is barred under IRS rules from engaging in partisan political activities.

Charity watchdogs for years have raised concerns about the blurred lines between for-profit businesses tied to Sekulow and the complex web of non-profit entities he and his family control.

The Associated Press reviewed 10 years of tax returns for the ACLJ and other charities tied to Sekulow, which are released to the public under federal law. The records from 2008 to 2017, the most recent year available, show that more than $65 million in charitable funds were paid to Sekulow, his wife, his sons, his brother, his sister-in-law, his nephew and corporations they own.

“Charities are not supposed to be taking sides in partisan political activities, such as providing legal services to benefit a politician in an impeachment trial,” Borochoff said. “Regulators should investigate whether or not charitable resources, such as office, labor, equipment, etc., are being wrongly utilized to benefit Sekulow’s for-profit law firm.”

Over the 10-year-period examined by AP, the tax returns show nearly $37 million in charitable funds were paid by ACLJ to the CLA Group, the phantom law firm listed on court filings as defending Trump.

 

 

 

Article URL : https://apnews.com/9d2ed80ca912d18abd6650f55d2db935

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