Foundation for Moral Law
|Formation||January 29, 2003|
|Headquarters||Montgomery, Alabama, United States|
The Foundation was established in 2003 by Republican politician Roy Moore, who was ousted as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama in 2003 for refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the grounds of the Alabama Judicial Building. In 2013, Moore was again elected to the Alabama Supreme Court, but was suspended from the Court in 2016, and resigned in 2017, after ordering Alabama probate judges to ignore federal court decisions on same-sex marriage.
History and finances
The Foundation for Moral Law was established in 2003 by Republican politician Roy Moore. Pastor Phillip Ellen became the first president of the Foundation for Moral Law in December 2002. Randy Stafford acted as vice president at that time, and Mel C. Glenn Sr. was executive director.
In November 2003, the board chose Rich Hobson as president of the Foundation for Moral Law, and Ellen became its vice president. Moore served as the president of the Foundation for Moral Law, and Hobson served as executive director. In 2013, Moore's wife, Kayla Moore, became president of the Foundation for Moral Law.
Also in 2005, The Foundation accepted a $1,000 contribution from a neo-Nazi organization founded by Willis Carto, a prominent Holocaust denier. The donation attracted attention during Moore's 2017 campaign for a Senate seat.
Moore publicly said that he did not draw a "regular salary" from the organization. In October 2017, however, The Washington Post reported that Moore had arranged an annual salary of $180,000 for himself from the foundation. From 2007 to 2012, he collected more than $1 million, an amount that far surpasses what the organization declared in its public tax filings. Furthermore, The Washington Post reported that Moore arranged the salary and that, in 2012 when the charity could not pay his full salary, Moore received a note promising that he would get the salary in back pay or a stake in the assets of the foundation. The foundation also paid for Moore's health-care benefits, travel expenses, and bodyguard, and the foundation's website has regularly promoted Moore's speaking arrangements and book. Furthermore, the foundation employed Moore's wife and at least two of Moore's children. The Washington Post also noted that there was considerable overlap between the charity and Moore's political activities, with previous top officials of the charity leading Moore's 2017 Senate campaign and with the charity using the same fundraising firm as Moore's campaigns.
The IRS warned the foundation about discrepancies in its tax filings in 2013, saying that the issues "could jeopardize your exempt status". A number of charity and tax law experts have said that the foundation's activities "raised questions about compliance with IRS rules, including prohibitions on the use of a charity for the private benefit or enrichment of an individual". Additional reporting by The Washington Post that October found that the $498,000 that Moore was guaranteed in back pay was not declared to the IRS; tax experts say that it should have been and that Moore would have had to pay more than $100,000 in federal tax.
Positions and activities
The Foundation for Moral Law advocates Moore's Christian right and socially conservative views through the filing of amicus briefs in courts. The group is anti-abortion, opposed to same-sex marriage and supportive of public prayer. In 2010, the Foundation for Moral Law allowed its offices to be used to host a "Alabama Secession Day Commemoration" event, celebrating Alabama's secession from the Union in 1861. The event featured a speaker from the League of the South, a group that supports secession of the South from United States and is classified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
In 2017, the Foundation for Moral Law publicly opposed the U.S. Air Force's nomination of then-Colonel Kristin Goodwin to serve as commandant of cadets of the U.S. Air Force Academy because Goodwin is a married lesbian; in a letter, the Foundation's president, Kayla Moore, accused the United States Department of Defense of having a "disregard for the fundamental moral order established by God."
In 2017, the Foundation for Moral Law came out in support of Executive Order 13780, a travel ban issued by President Donald Trump. The group said that it would back the executive order in the U.S. Supreme Court against constitutional challenges.
- "Foundation For Moral Law, Inc." Business Entity Records. Alabama Secretary of State. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- "Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax". Foundation for Moral Law Inc. Guidestar. December 31, 2014.
- "Foundation for Moral Law Inc". Exempt Organizations Select Check. Internal Revenue Service. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
- Frederick S. Lane, The Court and the Cross: The Religious Right's Crusade to Reshape the Supreme Court (Beacon Press, 2008), p. 138.
- H. B. Cavalcant, Gloryland: Christian Suburbia, Christian Nation (Greenwood/Prager: 2007), p. 49: Table 3.1: A Sample of Conservative Christian Groups in America.
- Ad attacks Roy Moore's pay from Christian charity, legal organization, Associated Press (August 3, 2017).
- John Kruzel, Did Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore take $1 million from a charity he ran?, PolitiFact (September 5, 2017).
- "About". Foundation for Moral Law. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "Kayla Moore". Foundation for Moral Law. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- "The Foundation for Moral Law Names Kayla Moore as President and Attorney Joshua Pendergrass as Executive Director". Foundation for Moral Law. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
- Jessica Chia (October 19, 2017). "Republican senate candidate Roy Moore accepted donation from Nazi group: report". New York Daily News.
- Matthew Rozsa (October 19, 2017). "Roy Moore's foundation accepted $1000 from Nazi group: report". Salon.
- Steve Benen (October 19, 2017). "Thursday's Campaign Round-Up, 10.19.17". The Rachel Maddow Show. MSNBC.
- Boburg, Shawn; Jr, Robert O'Harrow (2017-10-11). "Undisclosed deal guaranteed Roy Moore $180,000 a year for part-time work at charity". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
- Jr, Robert O'Harrow; Boburg, Shawn (2017-10-20). "Charity's promised back pay to Roy Moore was not reported to IRS as income". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-10-20.
- Christopher Harress, Missing: 2015-2016 tax returns for Roy Moore's Foundation for Moral Law, AL.com (August 4, 2017).
- Secession Day event set for Roy Moore's foundation, Associated Press (February 19, 2010).
- Greg Garrison, Roy Moore's wife issues statement opposing lesbian Air Force Academy commandant, AL.com (April 3, 2017).
- Brief of the Foundation for Moral Law as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellee and Affirmance, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G., S.Ct. No.15-2056.
- Hartropp, Joseph (27 June 2017). "Christian legal group backs Trump's travel ban: warns of terror threat to America". Christianity Today. Retrieved 20 July 2017.