My kids are going to be so disappointed in me

I’ve failed. Compared to that model father, Jay Sekulow, I’ve completely failed at life.

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.

We raised our kids godless and with the weird idea that grifting was an immoral act. Now they’re going to look at their bank accounts and wonder why I was so cruel to them. Heck, I’m looking at my bank account and thinking I must have messed up.

The Sekulow family has full control of CASE [Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism], which raked in $229 million in donations from 2011 to 2015 alone, The Washington Post reported. CASE solicited donations through an aggressive phone campaign. A script for CASE telemarketers, obtained by The Guardian, instructed callers to pressure the poor for money. “Could you possibly make a small sacrificial gift of even $20 within the next three weeks?” the script instructed telemarketers to ask retirees, the unemployed, and other people who said they were too poor to give. The donations would go toward preserving “our traditional Christian values,” the script said.

Just call me a bad dad. Oh well. At least I’m not going to go to jail for that kind of fraud!

Wait. Neither is Sekulow, I guess.

In a statement to The Guardian, a Sekulow spokesperson said the nonprofit’s payouts were all legal.

Damn. I should have followed the American Way, but I done fucked up.


  1. says

    Here in Maine we also have a Republican governor, and a government shut down for the first time in over 25 years. (We also do not have any provision for impeaching or recalling him.) To his (slight) credit, though, he has kept the State parks open.

  2. Reginald Selkirk says

    Whenever I hear someone say that religions promote charity, or that the religious give more to charity, I think of situations like this.

  3. Artor says

    Sekulow’s spokesperson said everything was legal, but I’d like some independent confirmation of that before I let them off the hook. Fortunately, there is an investigation underway. It would be nice if the grifters were exposed and prosecuted, but I’m not holding my breath for that either.

  4. says

    Interesting that his kid had an internship at Nickelodeon. I would have thought it would be too full of typical Hollywood liberalism etc. etc. for a good Christian lad.

  5. says

    I doubt it’s illegal. The law typically gives wide latitude as to how charities run themselves. Caveat emptor and all that.

    It’s also nothing unusual. Lots of charities operate as grifts, and virtually all connected with far-right politics do. And this is far from the worst..Sekulow is skimming off the top of a “charity” that otherwise spends money fulfilling its mission, but many don’t bother even doing that. Recall several years ago when it turned out that nearly every “tea party” group was using its funds to pay six-figure salaries to the people running them and spending almost no money at on elections. Even after being told this, the marks still didn’t care.

  6. says

    Area Man@#8:
    Sekulow is skimming off the top of a “charity” that otherwise spends money fulfilling its mission

    From my reading, he’s not “skimming” – he’s being paid a high salary as a “director” – that’s how charitable foundations work. It’s a way of passing a lot of tax-sheltered money to your kids so they can live in a sea of clover their entire lives (and, typically, they can’t touch the principal endowment, so they’re basically getting a sinecure)

    It’s ridiculous that these financial instruments exist, to allow inter-generational transfer of wealth while avoiding inheritance taxes, but that’s how the system has been constructed: for the rich, by the rich.

  7. jrkrideau says

    @ 9 Selfish, predatory practices… it makes me think of cats.
    Selfish, predatory practices… it makes me think of cats.

    Here! My cats over the years have been friendly and affectionate and even will bring home the occasional mouse as a present. Even the new kitten is much better than a US religious grifter or Republican governor and she, like any infant, will get better as she grows up.

  8. says

    “Legal” or “not illegal” doesn’t always mean “right” or “moral” or “correct.”

  9. naturalcynic says

    One way everyone can do just a little is to have CASE investigated and rated by Charity Navigator [pharyngulate away!!!]. At the present time there are 28 votes to have CASE investigated and three comments about the nefariousness of this “charity”. You will have to register to vote. The website is
    It is 501[c][3] foundation registered in Tucker GA. Assets ~ $53 million

  10. says

    “Legal” or “not illegal” doesn’t always mean “right” or “moral” or “correct.”

    Yup. But there are always going to be some people who arrange things unfairly to their advantage and make it legal, then say “What?! We’re just following the law!”

  11. caliron says

    Typical pol. As soon as he’s a lame duck his true colors and attitude towards whose he’s supposed to be serving show through. To be a successful politician on the big stage seems to require a masters in hypocrisy. I think he’s working on his PhD!

  12. Pierce R. Butler says

    CASE also indulges in a webwork of cross-payments, such as leasing planes and hiring video productions from Sekulow-family-owned businesses, which may well cross specific legal lines.

    Though he did manage to get a law degree on his own, Jay S learned his business practices from the one and only Pat Robertson.