by Max Brantley
Nice coincidence. I just noticed U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin was honored recently as congressman of the week on the Jordan Sekulow Show. You may not know Sekulow, but he's a son of Jewish lawyer Jay Sekulow, who's a legal hero of the Religious Right. Just a few months ago, Sekulow won a victory in Jonesboro for the King's Ranch, a religious-based home for children that had been unable to get a city permit.
Long and short, Sekulow is well-known in circles of people who follow the Pat Robertsons and Mike Huckabees of the world. He may be guided by principle, but he doesn't work for free. I was looking into Sekulow's many Arkansas connections because I just ran across this reporting from The Tennesseean in Nashville:
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.
Jay Sekulow Live — a call-in radio show sometimes produced at the Sekulow Media Group studio in the Factory in Franklin — draws millions of listeners. He’s a regular commentator on Fox News and splits his time living between Franklin and the Washington, D.C., area. Attorneys from his two charities are suing to rescind national health-care reform and to block the proposed mosque near ground zero.
Along with its spiritual benefits, Sekulow’s new calling has come with significant financial benefits.
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, known as form 990s.
One of the charities is controlled by the Sekulow family — tax documents show that all four of CASE’s board members are Sekulows and another is an officer — an arrangement criticized by a nonprofit watchdog group.