Roy Moore campaign battling reports that Moore was paid a million dollars by religious nonprofit
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore’s relationship with a Montgomery-based nonprofit has drawn national scrutiny after the Washington Post reported Wednesday Moore was paid more than $1 million from 2007 to 2012 for part-time work.
The Foundation for Moral Law was started as the Roy Moore Legal Defense Fund after Moore was forced to leave the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to remove a washing machine size Ten Commandments monument in the Alabama judicial building. The foundation website lists its mission as twofold: Litigation involving religious liberty cases and education on the necessity of acknowledging God in law and government.
The foundation’s fundraising efforts and payments to Moore softened the financial blow of leaving the court, the Washington Post reported. While Moore said he didn’t take a regular salary from the foundation, the Post learned he had an agreement with the foundation board to be paid $180,000 annually.
The Post also reported the payments to Moore far exceeded what the foundation had disclosed for most of that period.
Moore’s wife Kayla is the foundation’s current president.
Moore’s campaign criticized the Washington Post for the story. Bill Armistead, Moore’s campaign chairman, issued a statement Thursday night:
“In the past week, two reporters for the Washington Post have engaged in writing a so-called ‘investigative’ report on Judge Roy Moore,” Armistead said. “They have harassed family, friends and neighbors and have also attempted to gain access to the Foundation of Moral Law building under false pretensions. That story culminated in an article published yesterday morning.
“The story was full of all of the same distortions and innuendos that characterized past political attacks on Judge Moore. Judge Moore is man of impeccable character who served our country during a time of war in Vietnam and is a true patriot who does not back down from those who violate our constitution. He has always served with integrity and according to the highest ethical standards.
“It should be noted that the Washington Post is one of the most liberal newspapers in the country, endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton for President, and has become the volunteer attack dog against conservatives for the Democrat National Committee.”
Armistead criticized the reporters who wrote the story, but he didn’t identify anything in the story that was incorrect. WHNT News 19 asked the campaign Thursday about flaws in the story, but they did not respond.
Moore appeared in Huntsville last night and was scheduled to speak to reporters after the event, but that plan was scrapped and he took no questions.
Moore is poised to make even more money from the foundation, the Washington Post reported.
The Post story also found that as fundraising dried up as the Ten Commandments controversy and the foundation wasn’t able to meet the terms of Moore’s compensation deal, the board agreed to give Moore a $540,000 promissory note – in lieu of his salary – secured by a second mortgage in an office building the foundation owns on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery.
In a related detail, Moore filed an updated financial disclosure form with the U.S. Senate this week, after a campaign finance watchdog group called for an investigation of his original filing.
The new filing includes a reference to the Dexter Avenue property, noting Moore has an interest in a second mortgage on it. The value of his note is listed between $500,000 and $1 million.
The Post reported Thursday night the building was listed for sale in April, around the time the Alabama Supreme Court upheld Moore’s second removal from the court. The Post reported the former bank building was listed for sale at $1.9 million.
Moore’s second removal as chief justice followed an investigation by the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission concerning his handling of federal rulings on same-sex marriage. Moore and the foundation have been vocal critics of same-sex marriage laws.