Reference material for the expansion of American Center for Law and Justice
- Inside the Trump legal team trying to stop impeachment before it starts, Politico, 23 September 2019.
Sekulow routinely uses his own daily radio program to critique Trump’s investigators. Sekulow recently dedicated an entire show to mocking and trashing House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler’s efforts to collect information for potential impeachment proceedings. He took particular issue with a resolution the Democrat had circulated laying out the rules for the committee’s impeachment probe, latching on to a clause that allows Trump’s lawyers to respond in writing to evidence collected in both public and private settings.
In review, The American Center for Law & Justice has a borderline extreme right wing bias in reporting news on their website. Most stories published are favorable to the christian right and negative toward the left. There is frequent use of loaded words in articles such as this: “Chief Architect of ObamaCare’s Deceit and Pro-Abortion Deception Fired for Fraud.” The ACLJ also has produced a half-true claim via a fact checker. Further, the Southern Poverty Law Center has an article describing how the ACLJ has been opposed to civil rights for homosexuals as evidenced by their drafting of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. Overall, we rate the ACLJ as a borderline extreme right wing source that is mixed in factual reporting. (D. Van Zandt 8/29/2017)
- Peter Montgomery, Who Is Jay Sekulow? Trump Attorney Funnels Millions to His Family Through Nonprofits. Right Wing Watch, 7 March 2019.
It’s no surprise that Sekulow has found a place in Trump’s inner circle. Sekulow’s questionable relationship to the truth and his record of using nonprofits to enrich his family are quite Trumpian in nature.
- Note: Jay Sekulow went absent from his radio show when the Cohen allegations surfaced in May 2019. He finally appeared on his show, on May 29, commenting by phone on Robert Mueller's press briefing earlier in the day. He made it back to his namesake show in late June 2019 after giving it up for a long time to his son, boring wannabe pundit Jordan Sekulow.
- Devil Cole, Cohen allegations again raise questions about Sekulow's role defending Trump. CNN, 21 May 2019.
Jay Sekulow, President Donald Trump's personal attorney, became the subject of renewed attention Monday evening after newly released congressional transcripts revealed Trump's former lawyer Michael Cohen claimed Sekulow knew that Cohen lied to Congress in 2016 about when the Trump Tower Moscow project ended.
- Nicholas Fandos and Maggie Haberman House Panel Investigates Obstruction Claims Against Trump Lawyers. The New York Times, 14 May 2019.
The House Intelligence Committee is investigating whether lawyers tied to President Trump and his family helped obstruct the panel’s inquiry into Russian election interference by shaping false testimony, a series of previously undisclosed letters from its chairman show.
- Jerry Lambe, House Democrats Are Investigating Trump Family Lawyers. lawandcrime.com, 14 May 2019.
- Ellis Kim, Abbe Lowell, Facing House Intel Probe, Turns to Carol Elder Bruce. The National Law Journal, 15 May 2019.
Jay Sekulow, Alan Futerfas and Alan Garten also have picked up counsel amid a House committee investigation into claims of obstruction tied to MIchael Cohen's testimony to Congress in 2017.
- Matt Gertz, Jay Sekulow parroted Seth Rich conspiracy theories on Hannity’s Fox show -- then became the president’s lawyer. mediamatters.org, 16 May 2019.
Just a few weeks before he became President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show to express support for the vicious conspiracy theory that the July 2016 murder of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich had been in retaliation for Rich leaking internal emails to WikiLeaks.
- Max Greenwood, Trump lawyer Sekulow directed millions to family with nonprofits: report. thehill.com, 27 June 2017.
Sekulow's nonprofit Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE) and its sister organization, the American Center for Legal Justice, have paid millions of dollars to the Sekulow family, as well as companies tied to the high-profile attorney.
- Charlie Savage, For Jay Sekulow, New Trump Lawyer, Public Stumble Is Out of Character. New York Times, 19 June 2017.
- Tessa Berenson, How Jay Sekulow Became Trump's Top Lawyer on the Mueller Investigation. Time, 28 March 2018.
"His primary strength seems to be fundraising [and] TV punditry..." —Matthew Umhofer, partner at Spertus, Landes & Umhofer who faced off against Sekulow in a 2014 court case about Planned Parenthood
- John Swaine, Trump lawyer uses government action on abortion to raise cash for own group. The Guardian, 24 July 2018.
One of Donald Trump’s lawyers is using the Trump administration’s scrutiny of Planned Parenthood to raise money for his conservative activist group, which has directed millions of dollars to his law firm and his family.
Jay Sekulow, a personal attorney to the president, has contracted telemarketers to collect money from the public for his not-for-profit organisation using a script that highlights the justice department’s examination of foetal tissue transfers by groups including the women’s clinic network.
- Brent Brookhouse, Cup of coffee in the big time: Dojo Pro? WWE? ROH? Problematic situations test our personal boundaries., cagesideseats.com, 23 July 2018. Logan Sekulow's involvement in a wrestling television show inevitably brings up questions concerning his involvement in the ACLJ.
- Kelly Weill, Jay Sekulow’s Son Made Close to $1 Million From Family Charity. The Daily Beast, 3 July 2017.
Poor Christians opened their wallets to a religious nonprofit run by Donald Trump’s lawyer Jay Sekulow. In turn, Sekulow hired one of his own teenage sons—straight out of a Nickelodeon internship—and named him a “director” of the charity, where the son subsequently earned nearly a million dollars.
- Conflicts of Interest Are a Red Flag for Donors: Some Charity Insiders May Take Unfair Advantage of Their Position. charitywatch.org, 20 February 2018.
Based on just the single fiscal year-end reporting period of December 31, 2016 for CASE and March 31, 2017 for ACLJ - National, the Sekulow family and their personal for-profit business interests were reportedly paid a combined total of over $8.9 million by the two charities.
- Donor Alert: 'ACLJ' Is Two Charities Dominated by One Family. charitywatch.org, 19 July 2017.
With Jay and Gary Sekulow holding key positions at each of the ACLJs, and with over 90% of ACLJ - National’s revenue being provided by CASE, whose board consists entirely of Sekulow family members, it is highly unlikely that either of the ACLJs could effectively challenge any decision made by the Sekulows. Therefore, the Sekulow family is in a position of dominance over both charities.
- Betsy Woodruff and Asawin Suebsaeng, How Jay Sekulow Keeps Surviving Trump’s Legal Team Purges. The Daily Beast, 11 May 2018.
Dating back to at least the summer of 2011—around the same time Trump began his political ascendancy on the right as a leading figure in the racist anti-Obama birther movement—Trump began promoting and appearing on the nationally syndicated radio show Jay Sekulow Live, and taking up some of their causes on Twitter.
- Aaron Bandler, Trump Lawyer on New Book: ‘The People Will Be Able to Defend Jerusalem As Their Capital’, jewishjournal.com, 4 May 2018.
Sekulow expressed his amazement to TBN about Trump’s Jerusalem move, saying that it was something that most people thought wouldn’t happen in their lifetimes and that the move itself didn’t result in World War III that critics warned about. Sekulow believes that is thanks to a higher power that now was the moment to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel when the Arab world’s highest priority is the threat of Iran.
- Marcia Coyle, Trump Lawyer Jay Sekulow Loses SCOTUS Petition in Abortion Videos Case. The National Law Journal, 2 April 2018.
Jay Sekulow, a lawyer for President Donald Trump and a veteran U.S. Supreme Court advocate, failed to persuade the justices on Monday to review an abortion-related challenge...Sekulow had asked the high court to overturn an injunction against his client, Troy Newman, president of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.
- Rosie Gray, Sean Hannity’s Ties to Two More Trump-Connected Lawyers. The Atlantic, 17 April 2018.
On May 25, 2017, KFAQ, a radio station based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, received a cease-and-desist letter signed by two lawyers for Hannity: Victoria Toensing and Jay Alan Sekulow. Toensing’s signature sits above her name and that of her husband Joseph E. diGenova, the members of diGenova and Toensing LLP, who are identified as “Counsel for Sean Hannity,” according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Atlantic. Sekulow is also identified in the letter page as a “Counsel for Sean Hannity.”
- Betsy Woodruff, Trump’s Legal Team Is Bigger Than It Looks. The Daily Beast, 25 March 2018.
Two sources familiar with the president’s team have told The Daily Beast that about half a dozen attorneys affiliated with a conservative non-profit have been helping Jay Sekulow represent the president.
- Betsy Woodruff and Lachlan Markay, Trump’s Lawyers Sharing Space With Anti-‘Deep-State’ Group. The Daily Beast, 22 March 2018.
As Sekulow represents the president in matters related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, ACLJ has also pursued litigation that, while not directly related to that investigation, aligns with efforts by the president and his allies to deflect from allegations that the Russian government worked to elect Trump in 2016.
- Ian Millhiser, Trump’s legal strategy is a great way to wind up in prison. thinkprogress.org, 22 March 2018.
Sekulow may be the oddest character in Trump’s band of misfit attorneys. An accomplished appellate attorney, Sekulow built a name for himself by litigating cases on behalf of religious right clients. Sekulow also founded at least two legal non-profits, which are ostensibly charities, but that also appear to have made Sekulow fantastically rich.
- Shannon Pettypiece, Trump’s Lawyer Uses Radio Show to Chip Away at Mueller Probe. bloomberg.com, 23 February 2018.
Billed as a program about religion and law, “Jay Sekulow Live” has become a key venue for challenging the basis for Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign was involved.
- Ian Millhiser, The very shady way that Donald Trump’s new lawyer got very, very rich Donald Trump’s new lawyer is the Donald Trump of lawyers. Think Progress, 21 June 2017.
A pair of religious charities led by Sekulow “paid out more than $33 million to members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own” over the course of a little more than a decade, according to a 2011 report by The Tennessean’s Bob Smietana. One of Sekulow’s non-profits “paid a total of $2,374,833 to purchase two homes used primarily by Sekulow and his wife,” according to a 2005 expose by Legal Times’ Tony Mauro.
- Trump attorney Jay Sekulow’s family has been paid millions from charities they control, The Washington Post, 27 June 2017.
- Hey Y’All, Jay Sekulow May Have No F**king Clue What He’s Doing. abovethelaw.com, November 2017.
This may come as a complete shock to you, but “guy from law school 11 above the ‘rank not published line'” might not know how the legal system works. While carpet bombing the cable news shows to trumpet your latest abortion of an amicus brief about abortion might earn millions in donations, it doesn’t necessarily translate into white-collar know-how.
- What to Know About Jay Sekulow and the ACLJ. care2.com, August 14, 2017.
With the FBI and a special investigator sniffing around the White House, it must be a hard time to serve as one of President Donald Trump’s legal advisors. But for Jay Sekulow, known across media outlets as “Trump’s lawyer,” the timing couldn’t be better.
Sekulow, the chief counsel for far-right Christian legal organization the American Center for Law and Justice, is in a prime position to move forward on his goal to make the U.S. an evangelical theocracy. From pushing “religious freedom” laws to attacking Planned Parenthood, Sekulow is one of the biggest influences on the president’s agenda.
- Ruth Marcus: Behind the Trump team's bluster, a dark legal strategy. heraldextra.com, July 24. 2007.
President Trump’s attorney, Jay Sekulow, seems to be an adherent of the just-yell-louder-school of legal argumentation. That tactic was on vivid display again on July 16, as the blustering lawyer made the full round of talk shows. It might have been the most striking part of Sekulow’s performance, but it wasn’t the most ominous.
- Jack Jenkins, Trump’s lawyer helped birth the GOP effort to politicize churches. Now his dream may come true. thinkprogress.org, 27 July 2017.
So where did the campaign to let pastors openly back politicians come from? There are many theories, but almost all of them involve the same man: newly minted Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow.
- William Saletan, How Jay Sekulow tries to bury the truth, salon.com, 18 July 2017.
If you doubt Trump is trying to bury the truth, just watch his lawyer.
- Jon Swaine, Trump lawyer's firm steered millions in donations to family members, files show. The Guardian, 27 June 2017.
More than 15,000 Americans were losing their jobs each day in June 2009, as the US struggled to climb out of a painful recession following its worst financial crisis in decades.
But Jay Sekulow, who is now an attorney to Donald Trump, had a private jet to finance. His law firm was expecting a $3m payday. And six-figure contracts for members of his family needed to be taken care of.
Documents obtained by the Guardian show Sekulow that month approved plans to push poor and jobless people to donate money to his Christian nonprofit, which since 2000 has steered more than $60m to Sekulow, his family and their businesses.
- Radio logs, July 3, 2017
780 at 1600. WAVA Arlington, VA. There's Jay Sekulow again, owner of ``The American Center for Law and Justice" and Trump personal lawyer, with companion sock puppets ``Counsel" Harry and ``Professor" Andy, doing more Trump apologetics. He says that the Blaine amendment would prevent local fire and police services from serving churches, so it must be destroyed. Later, he does some shilling for donations to the non-profit ACLJ that he and his family control. Sekulow also did the Trump lawyer thing on Hannity's show today, which was a rerun from a couple of weeks ago centered on discussing possible collusion between Trump and the Russians by ``just asking questions" about other funny business they claim was done by ``the left."
1220 at 1558. WFAX Falls Church, VA. Preacher bemoaning transgender activism in sports, and immediately loses all credibility by using ``World Net Daily" as a source. At 1600, ID and announces that ``Jay Sekulow Live" will be starting today from 4-5 pm (1800-1900 UTC). Sure enough, I checked at 1800 and there Jay was, with the same show heard earlier on 780.
- Charlie May, Trump’s new lawyer is facing his own investigation: Authorities in two states examining Jay Sekulow’s Christian nonprofit. Salon.com, 29 June 2017.
Jay Sekulow, the lawyer who repeatedly insisted that President Donald Trump was not personally under investigation, may soon find himself under investigation after it was reported that his Christian nonprofit allegedly steered tens of millions of dollars to himself, family members and their businesses.
- Kelly Weill, Jay Sekulow’s Son Made Close to $1 Million From Family Charity. The Daily Beast, 3 July 2017.
Jay Sekulow appointed his son as a ‘director’ of his religious nonprofit when the kid was just 18. His prior experience? An internship at Nickelodeon.
- James H. Andrews, How Other Rights Groups View the ACLJ. Christian Science Monitor, 7 February 1994.
"There's a feeling around here that the ACLJ has a bigger agenda than just protecting religious free speech," says Mark Stern, a lawyer with the American Jewish Congress who has opposed the ACLJ in court.
The ACLJ does not aim "to replace a democratic form of government with a theocratic one," says Keith Fournier, the center's executive director. "No one wants establishment of religion in the wrong way." But critics assert that, in its calls for government "accommodation" of religion, the ACLJ seeks much-greater religious penetration into the public sphere.
Buttering the toast on both sides and pocketing a bunch of money for doing it is not right. It certainly is not Christian! It certainly should not be supported by Christians.
- Bob Smietana, Tenn. lawyer's family, firm collect millions from charities. USA Today, 5 September 2011.
When Christian charities become successful, he said, they can lose sight of the ethics of their faith, which include handling money with care. Six-figure salaries and perks like a private jet clash with Christian ideals about charity.
- Olivia Nuzzi, All in the family: How to Get Rich Suing For Jesus. The Daily Beast, 9 September 2015.
Jay Sekulow and his family are dedicated to preserving Christian conservative rights while making boatloads of cash through their charities.
- 10 Things You Should Know About the American Center For Law And Justice. Human Rights Campaign.
- ACLJ has raised nearly $75 million in the past five years to fight for anti-LGBT causes, despite not meeting 10 out of 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability.
- ACLJ suggests the “sin” of homosexuality might be to blame for the death of Tyler Clementi and the rash of teen suicides connected to anti-LGBT bullying.
- ACLJ goes after cities and municipalities, simply for protecting employees against anti-LGBT discrimination.They even call workplace diversity training “offensive.”
- ACLJ defended the Boy Scouts of America in their fight to prevent LGBT scouts and scout leaders, with the group’s founder warning of “predators as Boy Scouts, pedophiles who will come in as Scoutmasters.’’
- ACLJ defends criminal punishments for consensual, adult same-sex behavior, saying homosexuality is destructive to society.
- ACLJ literally helped write the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), parts of which were deemed unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court last year in United States v. Windsor.
- ACLJ opened an office in Nairobi, Kenya, where the group promotes discriminatory legal and legislative policies and engages in “civic education to warn people of the dangers of homosexuality.”
- ACLJ-Zimbabwe has organized meetings with the country’s ruthless dictator, Robert Mugabe, and advocated for keeping criminal bans on homosexuality in place as the country reformed its constitution. This is the same Mugabe who threatened to behead gay people in his country.
- ACLJ’s export of hate isn’t limited to Africa. They’ve set up shops in Brazil, Europe, and Russia, all to push their anti-LGBT ends and oppose marriage equality and anti-discrimination measures across the globe.
- ACLJ founder Pat Robertson thinks that introducing lesbians to your child might make “your children grow up as lesbians.” Robertson actually claimed a gay father given custody of his child over a Christian mother made the child “a flaming homosexual, and if I’m not mistaken, he contracted AIDS.”
- Pat Robertson Attorney Has High-flying Lifestyle, Says Legal Newspaper. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, December 2005.
Jay Sekulow, a confederate of TV preacher Pat Robertson and an increasingly important operative for the Bush administration’s drive to remake the federal courts, has used non-profit groups to finance a high-flying lifestyle for himself and members of his family, a national newspaper has reported.
- Miranda Blue, Religious Right ‘Freedom And Liberty’ Group ACLJ Backed Russian ‘Gay Propaganda’ And Blasphemy Bans. Right Wing Watch, 19 May 2014.
...the ACLJ – which has joined in the Religious Right chorus claiming that progressive policies are causing American Christians to lose their religious freedom – has never been so keen on the civil liberties of those with whom they disagree, especially in its work overseas.
- The National Christian Foundation Anti-LGBT Funding Encyclopedia. Two Care Center Against Religious Extremism, 14 June 2014.
Started by televangelist Pat Robertson, the ACLJ has an active relationship with Robertson’s Regent University. ACLJ has established satellite legal centers active in Europe, Russia, and Africa, which fight against LGBT rights and legal abortion, and the religious right’s traditional panoply of culture war issues...
The ACLJ also receives heavy funding from the Alliance Defending Freedom – making it, in effect, an extension or subsidiary of ADF.
- Zimbabwe's Upcoming Elections: Corruption, Homophobia, and U.S. Conservatives. politicalresearch.org, 26 July 2013.
On the other hand, the U.S. conservative group the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) has indeed interfered with Zimbabwean politics, as described in Political Research Associates’ 2012 Colonizing African Values. In a blatant attempt to advance its own agenda, the ACLJ opened an office in Zimbabwe and lobbied the constitutional commission to include a prohibition on homosexuality. Though homosexuality was not criminalized in the new constitution, by excluding a human rights provision for LGBTQ individuals, homosexuality remains a criminal offense under penal law. What’s more, same-sex marriage was explicitly banned in the new constitution, marking the ACLJ’s success at shaping Zimbabwe’s constitution–when homosexuality is already criminalized, the introduction of same-sex marriage bans reveals an American concern.
- Sharon Kann, Who Are The Anti-Choice Activists On Evening Cable? Meet the Anti-Choice Figures Who Appear Most Often To Spread Misinformation About Abortion. mediamatters.org, 1 June 2016.
Sekulow is also a proponent of Senate Republicans' ongoing obstruction of Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and he has suggested support for state policies that “punish” people for obtaining an abortion. In an April 1 edition of his radio show, Sekulow said that the idea of punishing people for receiving abortions was “not craziness” and that “for any other person that somebody killed, they’d be held culpable.”
- Fred Clark, Jay Sekulow fleeces donors for big money. Slacktivist blog at patheos.com, 7 September 2011. (Note: Extensively quotes an article in The Tennessean that appears to be unavailable now.)
I no longer believe that the ACLJ’s reason for existence has anything to do with the sectarian interests of the evangelical Christians it nominally defends. I now believe it exists only to keep Jay Sekulow and his relatives rolling in cash and luxuriating in the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed.
- The Secrets of Jay Sekulow. The Rutherford Institute, 1 November 2005.
But there is another side to Jay Sekulow, one that, until now, has been obscured from the public. It is the Jay Sekulow who, through the ACLJ and a string of interconnected nonprofit and for-profit entities, has built a financial empire that generates millions of dollars a year and supports a lavish lifestyle -- complete with multiple homes, chauffeur-driven cars, and a private jet that he once used to ferry Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
- Kyle Mantyla, The Secrets Of Jay Sekulow – The Sequel. Right Wing Watch, 6 September 2011.
Sekulow, a celebrity among conservative Christians, now sits as the principal officer of two closely related multimillion-dollar legal charities: Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, which he founded in San Francisco, and the better-known American Center for Law and Justice, founded by Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson and based in Virginia Beach...Since 1998, the two charities have paid out more than $33 million to members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own, according to the charities’ federal tax returns.
- Making Millions From Mammon? Jay Sekulow Accused Of Funneling Millions To Family. jonathanturley.org, 7 September 2011.
It may be true that “Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” but Jay Sekulow, the advocate for conservative religious causes, seems to have found a way. A new report alleges that Sekulow and his family have reaped millions in defending religious organizations and fighting the separation of church and state. What is clear is that his decision to fight for religious groups did not involve a vow of poverty.
- Pam Martens, Jay Sekulow: The Man Pumping the IRS Scandal on Network TV Sits At the Center of a Web of Nonprofits That Have Paid Him, His Family and Related Businesses $40 Million Since 1998. Wall Street On Parade, 28 May 2013.
Jay Sekulow will never be accused of a lack of audacity. The man who has orchestrated and pumped the “scandal” that the IRS was unfairly targeting nonprofits tied to the Tea Party, is the same man who filed 27 applications with the IRS in recent years seeking tax-exempt status for Tea Party and related groups. He’s also the man who together with family and business interests have reaped at least $40 million since 1998 from a tangled web of IRS approved nonprofits with eye-popping conflicts of interest.