When the Washington Post reported that Judge Roy Moore raked in more than a million dollars for part-time work at a Christian charity, his Democrat opponent called him "another crooked career politician." A more accurate term might've been televangelist.
After all, the politician offers a uniquely spiritual appeal and peddles a very specific brand of prosperity gospel.
Down South during the special Alabama Senate election, Moore doesn't pressure recluses and pensioners for their bottom dollar. But the candidate asks for their vote. And Moore doesn't promise his flock of fundamentalists that he will make them healthy, wealthy, or wise. But the frontrunner says he will make Alabama and America great again. He's the less polished, more political equivalent of Joel Osteen.
Unlike many of those televangelists, Moore's not as careful hiding his money. The man who promised that he didn't take "a regular salary" from the Foundation for Moral Law, the Post reports, made more than a million dollars from that small Christian charity he founded while serving as president from 2007 to 2012. And his Senate disclosures say he was never paid more than $200 in speaking fees when he made upwards of $150,000 in 2016 alone.
There were other perks too. According to the Post, Moore toured on the foundation's dime and billed them for his security. Famous for packing heat, the judge traveled with a bodyguard and had his own bulletproof vest tailored. Moore was apparently such an integral part of the organization that even when charitable giving dropped, they offered him real-estate.
When asked about Moore's compensation by the Washington Post, former board chairman and Alabama Circuit Judge John Bentley insisted the charity didn't do anything wrong intentionally. "That's my fault," he said about the lack of oversight, inconsistencies in audits, and late tax filings. "I should've been a lot more active than I was."
A loyal disciple during the primary runoff, Bentley slammed incumbent Sen. Luther Strange for questions raised about Moore's salary in a television ad by the Senate Leadership Fund.
"The ad falsely states salaries paid over the course of a decade as Judge Moore served our Foundation," Bentley wrote in a press release. "Judge Moore has upheld his integrity over the course of his long career and our Foundation has fought for morality in our legal system." A couple weeks later, he feigns ignorance.
Normally this sort of thing would hurt a candidate, and there probably is more information that hasn't yet been disclosed. Moore's wife serves as the president of the charity, where his adult children have also worked. Unbelievably that foundation still hasn't filed its 2015 and 2016 tax forms. But regardless of the new revelations, Moore's faithful won't fall away.
That flock of fundamentalists didn't turn Moore away when he was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for refusing to take down the 10 Commandments. And those disciples didn't flinch when Moore was booted a second time for refusing to recognize the federal Supreme Court's decision on marriage. They're not about to leave a man of God over a few hundred thousand dollars.
Maybe Senate Republicans make mistakes picking candidates, the electorate will reason. But they will say that the Almighty does not.
Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.