Georgia Republican Herschel Walker’s campaign absolutely tore into Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) on Thursday, firing off a devastating attack on Warnock following revelations that Warnock may have used campaign donations to pay for personal legal expenses, which is highly inappropriate at best.
Those revelations that sparked Walker’s opportunity to counter-attack came from Politico, which reported that:
Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) used campaign money to cover legal expenses for a lawsuit relating to his time as a church minister — transactions that raise questions about whether the spending runs afoul of federal rules governing personal use of campaign funds.
And, though Warnock’s campaign is claiming that the expenditure of campaign funds to stop a lawsuit was allowable because the lawsuit was filed during his time in office, that’s probably not the case. Why? Because, as Politico notes:
Federal Election Commission guidance states that campaign money can be used on “litigation expenses where the candidate/officeholder was the defendant and the litigation arose directly from campaign activity or the candidate’s status as a candidate.”
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This lawsuit, though filed when Warnock was in the Senate, is from allegations stemming from his time as a minister years ago, not from something directly related to the campaign. So, it appears to have been inappropriate, if not illegal.
The Walker campaign was quick to capitalize on that, with Walker spokeswoman Mallory Blount telling Breitbart:
“Georgians sent Raphael Warnock to Washington to represent them, and instead he spent his donors’ money to cover his personal legal bills. Raphael Warnock was involved in a lawsuit, which had nothing to do with his work as Senator and he used his campaign dollars to cover his legal troubles. Is there anything more Washington?”
Similarly, NRSC spokesman T.W. Arrighi ripped into Warnock for using the funds as a sort of “personal piggy bank”, saying:
“Seldom held accountable for his misconduct, Senator Warnock operates under the assumption that no one will bat an eyelash at the flurry of lawsuits in which he is currently embroiled – and that he can illegally use campaign funds as a piggy bank for his personal expenses. The shine is fading from the media’s darling as people realize that not everything is on the up and up with Raphael Warnock.”
Warnock’s campaign attorney, one of the ones being paid with the campaign funds, defended their being spent on his services for dealing with the seemingly unrelated lawsuit, however, saying:
“This frivolous lawsuit against Senator Reverend Warnock and other public officials was served at his official office and is based on laws that only apply to him because of his status as a sitting office holder. It’s completely legal and appropriate to have used campaign funds on this legal matter, as many federal office holders have done before. Any suggestion otherwise is completely false.”
How much voters care about the funds, however, is unclear; though a useful tool to hammer Warnock with, they seem a minor issue when compared to how badly things are going under Biden.