Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia earned more outside income than Senate rules allow but is claiming everything is above board, according to The Washington Free Beacon.
The report Tuesday said Warnock’s most recent financial disclosure form shows that he reported earning $155,000 from Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.
The Free Beacon noted that this is well above the limit of about $30,000.
Warnock says the payment was deferred compensation for work with the church before he was sworn into the Senate in January 2021, according to the report.The Free Beacon’s Andrew Kerr used the phrase “entirely fabricated” to describe the claim, saying that anything from the time the senator said he was owed money should have been reported in his 2021 financial disclosure form.
The outlet said it also combed the financial statements of the church and found no mention of any such payment for either 2020 or 2021. Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, raised eyebrows about the arrangement. “If it was inaccurately reported on his filing and the money was actually earned after he became a senator, then the outside earned income limit would apply,” Arnold told the Free Beacon. “In that case the legal issue that would arise (in addition to exceeding the outside income limit) is filing inaccurate or false information on a personal financial disclosure, i.e. wrongly saying it was deferred compensation when it wasn’t,” she said. The Free Beacon said in 2021, Warnock used what it called a “creative accounting trick” in which he said $89,000 of $120,000 from the church was used for a “parsonage allowance” to help maintain his home. The outlet said neither the senator nor Ebenezer Baptist Church returned its requests for comment. Pete McGinnis, communications director for the Functional Government Initiative, said the findings raise the need for an investigation. If an investigation takes place, it would be the second targeting the church and Warnock.
NEW: Raphael Warnock used a sketchy accounting loophole to evade outside income limits in 2022.He claimed $125k in “deferred compensation” for work he did for his church before 2021. There’s just one problem: The arrangement seems entirely fabricated.https://t.co/28Q5s4d01G — Andrew Kerr (@AndrewKerrNC) August 22, 2023
Last fall, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger investigated the Ebenezer Building Foundation’s “nonprofit” status after it did not register as a charitable organization, according to WAGA-TV in Atlanta.
Warnock is listed as the principal officer of the foundation on its 2020 IRS Form 990.The senator’s financial disclosure forms showed that in 2022, his income totaled $996,000, with $174,0000 of that from his congressional salary, the Free Beacon reported. Book royalties, for which there is no Senate limit, earned Warnock $656,000 last year. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.