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Warnock filed a false financial disclosure in violation of federal law, watchdog charges

“This would be a significant breach of Senate ethics laws that must be investigated immediately”

(Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images)

Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) may have broken federal law by claiming an incomplete accounting loophole to take home a lucrative part-time pastor’s salary in 2022, a watchdog group charged in a complaint Tuesday .

The Foundation for Civic Responsibility and Trust (FACT) he asked the Senate Select Committee on Ethics is immediately investigating whether Warnock lied on his 2022 financial disclosure regarding his $155,000 salary for occasionally serving as pastor at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church. To work around the $30,000 income cap for senators, Warnock claimed $125,000 of his pastor’s pay in 2022 was actually “deferred compensation” for work he did for the church before to take office on January 20, 2021. However, it appears that the completely fabricated compensation agreement, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

The watchdog group noted that the Ethics in Government Act does not allow lawmakers to break the law without consequence. If Warnock fabricated his “deferred compensation” deal to get money beyond his church’s legal limit in 2022, he could be fined up to $50,000 or sent to jail for up to a year, according to the complaint.

Even if the deal was legitimate, Warnock could have other reporting problems. If he was owed $125,000 in 2022 for work he did before taking the oath of office, he should have disclosed that asset in his previous financial statements. Similarly, Ebenezer Baptist Church should have recorded a $125,000 liability for wages owed to Warnock on its books by 2022.

But Warnock did not disclose the income. The church also made no reference to any “deferred compensation” arrangements for Warnock or any other employees in its audited financial statements for the years ending. 2020 i 2021.

“Either Senator Warnock and his church had a deferred compensation arrangement the existence of which both have blatantly failed to report for years, or he received outside income of more than four times the statutory limit,” said the FACT Executive Director Kendra Arnold. free lighthouse.

“Either way, this would be a significant breach of Senate ethics laws that must be investigated immediately by the Senate Select Committee on Ethics,” Arnold added. “The applicable laws and regulations are clear, and the people it serves deserve to know what happened here.”

Warnock used a different accounting trick to get around the Senate’s outside income cap in 2021. That year he reported receiving $120,000 from his church, of which $89,000, he said, came in the form of a ” tax-free rectory allowance’ which he used to pay. his million dollar Atlanta home.

Warnock’s 2021 deal was approved by the Senate Ethics Committee, the Democratic senator noted in his financial disclosure that year But Warnock made no mention of any approval for his “deferred compensation” deal in his 2022 financial disclosure.

Warnock’s financial ties to the Ebenezer Baptist Church were a flashpoint in his 2022 re-election campaign. As the church enriched the senator with a lucrative salary, a low-rise apartment building income it possessed moved to evict its disadvantaged residents for paltry levels of unpaid rent. A resident of the building faced eviction during the pandemic for falling behind on rent by just $28.55, the free lighthouse reported.

Although Warnock denied during his re-election campaign that his church’s apartment building was moving aggressively to evict its tenants, the building has moved to evict six residents since he won his victory The building has prey four residents in court so far in 2023 for falling behind on rent by less than two months, and law enforcement officials forcibly evicted another resident from the premises in July, county court records show from Fulton.


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