When Americans give money to a campaign, they (and the Federal Election Commission) expect it to be used to help their candidate of choice, not fight their personal legal battles – especially accusations that date back 17 years.
According to a damning new report from Politico, it looks like Senator Raphael Warnock did just 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.
…he enlisted his campaign attorneys from Elias Law Group to represent him in the case, along with an Atlanta firm, Krevolin & Horst, which assisted ELG.
The issue for Warnock is whether this was a proper use of campaign funds…
Charlie Spies, a Republican attorney specializing in political law, said the bottom line is whether Warnock would have incurred the expense as a private citizen. And in this case, Spies said, the answer is yes.
‘If Warnock is using campaign money to pay for a lawsuit that predates his running for office, then by definition it existed irrespective of his candidacy and would be impermissible to use campaign funds on,’ said Spies, who previously served as counsel to Mitt Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign and to the Republican National Committee.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time Warnock has played it fast and loose with the rules. Not only was he investigated by the FEC for voter registration misconduct, but Warnock’s campaign also staffed up with public employees double-dipping on taxpayer and donor funds.
Statement from NRSC Spokesman T.W. Arrighi: “Raphael Warnock and his army of liberal hack lawyers think they are above the law. 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.”