In the last week, Jim Bakker has found himself in water as hot as he’s been in since getting out of prison in 1994. When New York state attorney general Letitia James got word that the televangelist and rabid Donald Trump supporter was trying to peddle a silver-based solution that supposedly kills coronavirus, she ordered Bakker to cut it out or face fines of up to $5,000–per violation.
The pressure ramped up even further on Monday morning when the feds got involved. The Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission ordered Bakker to cease and desist from claiming that his silver goo can kill coronavirus, and gave him 48 hours to give both agencies a full accounting of the steps he has taken to comply. Similar demands were issued to six other snake oil salesmen across the country.
You would have thought that with both federal and state officials breathing down his neck, Bakker would have fallen all over himself to comply. Well, apparently he gave his answer on Monday. He continues to peddle his silver snake oil on his online store.
When Bakker uploaded the video archive of his chat with evangelist and so-called apostle Robert Henderson, he also included links to not one, but two silver solution bundles. What a deal! And what a thumb of the nose to James, the FDA and FTC.
That by itself would be ample evidence that Bakker has no intention of complying. But there’s even more. Hours after news of the FDA and FTC’s letter went national, those silver solution bundles are still available from Bakker’s online store. We have receipts.
Also available is a 12-bottle case of “silver gel.”
Also available is a 12-bottle case of silver solution liquid.
It cannot be stated enough. Bakker still thinks he can peddle this snake oil despite facing demands from both the New York state attorney general and the federal FDA and FTC to pull it off the market. And yet, as I write this on Monday night, it’s still available.
Bakker seems to forget just how lucky he is to be a free man. For those who don’t remember, in 1989, Bakker was sentenced to 45 years in prison after a federal investigation revealed he had engaged in eye-popping fraud. For instance, he sold more “lifetime partnerships” at his Heritage USA Christian retreat in Fort Mill, South Carolina than could have possibly been accommodated. He had raised double the money needed to build a luxury hotel, but most of the money went straight into Heritage USA’s bank account.
Under the circumstances, he more than deserved the original sentence, which at his age would have virtually assured he would die in prison. However, two years later, an appeals court threw out the original sentence due to a staggering case of diarrhea of the mouth from the sentencing judge, Robert Potter. The appeals court found that when Potter declared that most people with deep religious beliefs “are sick of being saps for money-grubbing preachers and priests,” he improperly used his own religious beliefs as a factor in deciding on Bakker’s sentence. The sentence was ultimately reduced to eight years, and he was paroled after five.
You would think that given a new lease on life, Bakker would have made every effort to stay within the letter, if not the spirit, of the law. But if he still thinks he can peddle this so-called cure even with federal and state authorities giving him the hairy eyeball, it’s apparent that he hasn’t learned a thing.
Last summer, Bakker whined that the government had been out to get him in the 1980s. Knowing what we know about Bakker, he’ll likely repeat this line if James, the FDA and FTC make good on their warnings to come after him if he doesn’t have the good sense to pull his silver goo off the market. News flash, Jim. If you’re openly flouting the law by continuing to peddle this snake oil, you’ll deserve everything you get.
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