The Washington Post apparently has misfired in a political attack on former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, now the GOP candidate for the Alabama Senate seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
The newspaper accused Moore of not reporting or paying taxes on compensation to which he was entitled but did not receive.
The Foundation for Moral Law, which was paying Moore as its president for the years at issue, said in a statement that all transactions and arrangements were reported fully to the IRS. The foundation then charged the reporters essentially were working on a political hit.
“For the Washington Post to state that Judge Moore secretly ‘collected’ monies he never received or that the Foundation failed to properly report its indebtedness to the IRS is false,” a statement from foundation officials charged. “Furthermore, the reporters responsible for the false and misleading articles on the foundation and Judge Moore have written 20 stories, jointly, since last year, 17 of which have been direct attacks on our president and conservative principles.
“Their agenda-driven bias is reflected in the articles on Judge Moore.”
The Post article, published Friday morning, stated “the promised back pay ‘was not reported to IRS as income.'”
But the foundation’s tax filings for 2011 and 2012 did report the obligation owed to Moore.
“Furthermore, everyone knows that you don’t pay taxes on money you didn’t receive,” the statement said.
“The Washington Post is trying to deceive the public as to wrongdoing that simply does not exist.”
If the Post was attacking Moore as the foundation described, it was the second such political attack on Moore that went awry.
WND reported last month NBC News anchor and political director Chuck Todd claimed that Moore, long known for his conservative values and strict originalist interpretation of the Constitution, “doesn’t appear to believe in the Constitution as it’s written.”
Todd played a brief clip of the former Alabama Supreme Court chief justice stating: “Our rights don’t come from government, they don’t come from the Bill of Rights. They come from Almighty God.”
Todd commented: “Roy Moore, where the phrase ‘Christian conservative’ doesn’t even begin to describe him, could very well be your next senator. If you don’t understand just how freaked out some folks in the GOP and the White House are, then you don’t know Roy Moore. First off, he doesn’t appear to believe in the Constitution as it’s written.”
The Post reported Friday that several advisers it consulted said taxes may have been due on planned payments to Moore even though they were not made, but it would take an IRS ruling to determine that for a fact.
The dispute is about Moore’s work for the Foundation for Moral Law between his stints at chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court.
He was given a note regarding about $500,000 in “back pay, the Post reported, because the charity did not pay his full salary for a number of years.”
“Five tax law and accounting specialists said it appears the guaranteed payment should have been reported as compensation, a disclosure that would have triggered a federal tax bill of more than $100,000,” the Post said.
The Post quoted David Walker, a tax law professor at Boston University, saying it was “a significant possibility” that taxes were due on those promises of payment.
The foundation statement, released Friday by attorney John Eidsmore, was from Judge John Bentley, a board member, to “set the record straight.”
First Moore worked from 2004 to 2007 without “any” salary, he said. Then his salary was set at $180,000, but he wasn’t generally paid that, with his average from 2007 to 2012 about $85,000.
In 2011, an agreement was reached that acknowledged the shortfall and secured it with a promissory note and second mortgage on the foundation’s building.
“That document was filed as a public record in Montgomery and thus was not an ‘undisclosed deal’ as stated in the Washington Post headline. The arrearage was also reported in the foundation’s federal tax filing. To this date, that note and mortgage remain unpaid,” the statement said.
Payments stopped when Moore returned to the court bench in 2013.
Moore victory ‘a message’ to Republicans
Moore – whose opponent in the December election, Democrat Doug Jones, said one of his highest priorities is absolute affirmation of abortion – defeated Sen. Luther Strange, the primary candidate handpicked for the nomination by Washington’s GOP establishment.
Twice elected chief justice of Alabama and twice removed for refusing to follow federal court orders on the Ten Commandments and same-sex marriage, Moore defeated Strange by roughly 10 percentage points. Strange was appointed to the seat earlier this year by disgraced former Gov. Robert Bentley following the confirmation of former Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general.
Not only did Moore win easily, he overcame millions of dollars in attack ads from the Senate Leadership Fund, which is closely aligned with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Moore also won despite President Trump’s active support for Strange.
WND commentator Michael Brown said the election victory “sends a message to the GOP establishment from fed-up Republicans across the country: ‘We’ve had it with your compromising and your political games. We’ve had it with career politicians in general. You represent what we reject. You represent one of the major reasons we voted for Donald Trump. Your time in D.C. is over.'”