Moore Money, More Problems

Roy Moore Failed to Disclose Massive Amount of Income on His Senate Ethics Form

The Alabama Republican Senate candidate said he received as much as $150,000 in speaking fees last year. But he didn’t list it on a key doc.

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore walks back into the state Judicial Building after addressing supporters.

Gary Tramontina/Getty

Roy Moore, the controversial Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, neglected to disclose as much as $150,000 in income to federal ethics officials, according to a Daily Beast review of public records.

In filings with the Alabama Ethics Commission, Moore, the former chief justice of the state supreme court, listed between $50,000 and $150,000 in honoraria received last year for various speaking engagements. But in a filing with the Senate Ethics Committee two months later, he explicitly denied having received any payments last year "for an article, speech, or appearance."

Moore’s Senate disclosure filing also stated that neither he or his wife had any outstanding liabilities last year of more than $10,000. But in his Alabama filing, Moore listed between $150,000 and $250,000 in liabilities owed to a credit union or savings and loan (or a credit card issued by one of them) in 2016.

It was not immediately clear why Moore’s two filings are different. A spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment. But Brendan Fischer, the director of the federal reform project at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit watchdog group, said Moore’s financial reporting discrepancies were troubling for a federal candidate ostensibly well versed in the law.

“What is surprising is that these violations are so egregious,” Fischer said in an email. “This is not some complicated area of law. We are talking about a simple financial disclosure form with clear instructions, which asks for information very similar to what Moore had already reported to Alabama a few months prior. Moore was the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, so he can’t possibly claim that the simple instructions for filling out the Senate Financial Disclosure form were too difficult for him to follow.”

Knowingly submitting false information in a federal financial disclosure report can subject the filer to civil and criminal penalties, the Senate Ethics Committee notes on its website.

Moore filed his federal financial disclosure form in late June after requesting an extension of the deadline for candidate disclosure filings. His Alabama filing had come in two months earlier, according to the copy on file with the state ethics board.

Moore’s recent disclosure reports are not the only ones that have potential discrepancies. In a 2014 report to state ethics officials, Moore noted that his wife, Kayla Moore, drew a $65,000 salary from the Foundation for Moral Law, the non-profit group that Moore ran before assuming his state judgeship. But FML’s annual tax filing for that year says that Mrs. Moore did not receive any compensation from the group.

“Both can’t be true,” Fischer noted. “Either Roy Moore is misleading Alabama or Kayla Moore is misleading the IRS.”

Moore won the Republican nomination for US Senate in Alabama on Tuesday, besting incumbent Sen. Luther Strange in a primary runoff. Moore’s sudden political ascendance has thrust a consistently controversial figure in Alabama politics into the national spotlight, and brought additional scrutiny on his life outside of government, including his work at FML.

Discrepancies in Moore’s financial filings suggests he may not have anticipated some of that scrutiny, or may have been unprepared to fulfill the disclosure requirements placed on candidates for federal office.

“Moore’s entire political career has been premised on morality,” Fischer said, “but he is showing a pattern of disregarding the most basic ethical requirements of public office.”