According to an investigative report, a watchdog organization has requested that the Senate Select Committee on Ethics examine if Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) broke federal law by earning over four times the normal outside income limit for senators in 2022 by use of an accounting loophole.
Alledging that Warnock may have misled on his 2022 financial report, the Foundation for Accountability is asking the panel to investigate. The dispute concerns his annual compensation of $155,000 as the occasional pastor of Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church.
The Senate has a ceiling of $30,000 for outside income.
Warnock alleged that $125,000 of his salary as pastor in 2022 was a delayed payment for activities he conducted for the church before he started office on January 20, 2021, therefore avoiding the $30,000 outside income limits for senators.
The watchdog organization said politicians cannot disobey the law without facing consequences under the Ethics in Government Act.
According to the complaint, Warnock could face a year in jail and a fine of up to $50,000 if he illegally used a phony delayed pay scheme to gain from his church in 2022.
Warnock may have additional reporting difficulties even if the deal was entirely above board. He should have included the $125,000 he was owed in 2022 for work he accomplished before being inducted into office as an asset in his financial declarations from that year. The $125,000 salary responsibility for Warnock should have been documented by Ebenezer Baptist Church prior to 2022.
To get around the Senate’s outside income cap in 2021, Warnock claimed to have received $120,000 from the church that year, $89,000 of which he utilized to pay for his one-million-dollar Atlanta mansion through a tax-free parsonage stipend.
According to the Fulton County court records, six tenants have been evicted from the apartment complex controlled by Ebenezer Baptist Church since the Warnock was reelected in December.
Despite receiving over $15 million in state and federal aid to house the chronically homeless, Columbia MLK Tower has brought several tenants to court this year for being less than two months late on their rent. Several months ago, police forcefully removed an occupant from the reportedly pest-plagued building.