Posted Sep 06, 2011 01:00 pm CDT
Jay Sekulow’s Christian litigation career got a big boost in 1987 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on behalf of his client, Jews for Jesus, in a case challenging a ban on First Amendment activities at Los Angeles International Airport.
Also benefiting are Sekulow family members and their businesses, which have earned more than $33 million since 1998 from two charities for which Sekulow is the chief officer, the Tennessean reports. The newspaper gleaned the information from tax returns filed by the charities, Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism and the American Center for Law and Justice.
Among the payments made since 1998 chronicled by the Tennessean:
• $15.4 million to the Constitutional Litigation and Advocacy Group, a law firm co-owned by Jay Sekulow.
• $5.7 million to Gary Sekulow, Jay Sekulow’s brother, for his work as chief financial officer of both charities.
• $1.6 million to Pam Sekulow, Jay Sekulow’s wife.
• $2.74 million in private jet lease payments to companies owned by Jay Sekulow and his sister-in-law, Kim Sekulow. The companies also earned $2.89 million for space rental, media production and administrative work.
The tax lawyer for ACLJ, John Hoover of Dow Lohnes, told the Tennessean that payments made to the Sekulows and their businesses have all been made for the charities’ benefit and have passed an IRS audit. The business arrangements are on terms more advantageous for the charities than they could obtain elsewhere, he said.
The newspaper also spoke to several people who praised Sekulow for helping raise money for worthy causes and for his own charitable contributions. They described him as a humble man dedicated to the Christian cause.