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Charities Steered $65M to Trump Lawyer and His Family: Report

Jay Sekulow might be blurring the lines between profit and charity
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 31, 2020 8:00 AM CST
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A sign marks the entrance to the American Center for Law and Justice, a non-profit Christian legal advocacy non-profit, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
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(Newser) – Jay Sekulow, one of President 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 AP reports. But Sekulow, 63, is registered as chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, a non-profit Christian legal advocacy group based in a Capitol Hill row house. 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—but the Republican National Committee has paid more than $250,000 to Sekulow’s for-profit CLA Group since 2017, when he was first named to Trump’s legal team. As charity watchdogs question whether Sekulow has blurred the line between profit and charity, the AP reviewed 10 years of tax returns for the ACLJ and charities controlled by Sekulow's family—and found that over $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. But an ACLJ rep says Sekulow's work for Trump is "separate and distinct and is not connected with his work as Chief Counsel of the ACLJ." Click for the AP's full story. (Or see what Sekulow is arguing in the impeachment trial.)


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