Washington Examiner

Watchdog claims Raphael Warnock may have broken federal law on pastor salary disclosure.

Sen. Raphael Warnock Accused ​of Flouting Federal Law⁣ with Part-Time Pastor Gig

A⁤ watchdog group has raised concerns that Sen.​ Raphael Warnock ‌(D-GA) may have violated⁤ federal ‍law by exploiting ‍a potential loophole to earn significant sums through his part-time pastor‍ role. The Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) is demanding an immediate investigation by the ‌Senate Select Committee on Ethics.

“The‌ fact that neither Senator​ Warnock nor his ⁤employer reportedly disclosed the ‘deferred compensation‘ agreement prior to it being paid​ in 2022 indicates that‌ it was likely not actually⁣ deferred compensation earned before Warnock became a senator,” said FACT Executive Director⁤ Kendra Arnold.

“Nevertheless, even⁣ if the parties entered​ into a deferred compensation‌ agreement‍ before he was a senator, it should⁢ have been disclosed before it was. When ‍the⁤ facts ⁣presented so clearly indicate a ‍violation ⁢has occurred, it is incumbent on the Senate Ethics ​Committee ⁤to investigate, inform the public to maintain citizen ⁤confidence,⁤ and hold the senator responsible for⁣ violations should they be found.”

Warnock, who has been a pastor at ​Atlanta’s ‌Ebenezer Baptist Church since 2005, listed a salary of $155,000 on his 2022‍ financial disclosure. However, ⁢he claimed that $125,000 ⁢of ‍that amount was “deferred ⁣compensation for services‍ before Jan. 20, 2021,” allowing him to argue⁤ that he did‌ not ⁣exceed⁤ the $30,000 outside income limit for senators. The watchdog⁤ group⁣ points out that the $125,000 was not listed⁢ as ⁤an asset on Warnock’s previous financial ​disclosures ​or the ⁢church’s records for ⁢2020 ⁣and 2021.

FACT also highlights that federal rules⁤ require senators ⁤to report all “deferred compensation” plans, including the “parties, dates, and terms of ‌the agreement.” ‍The Ethics in Government Act imposes consequences⁣ for⁢ breaking the law,⁣ such as fines ⁣of up to $50,000 or‌ even imprisonment.

Warnock’s 2022 disclosure did ‍not mention approval from the Senate Select Committee on Ethics for the ‍”deferred compensation” arrangement. In 2021, the committee had granted Warnock⁤ permission to ⁣bypass the earned​ income ⁤limit ⁣after he disclosed‌ earning $120,000 from Ebenezer, with $89,000 of that sum allegedly coming from ​a nontaxable ​”parsonage allowance” used to ⁣pay ⁢for his $1 million⁤ home in Atlanta.

Sen. ​Warnock’s office and the‌ Senate Ethics Committee have not responded to requests for comment.

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