Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) voted for a coronavirus stimulus package that handed $75,000 to a social justice group his church founded. The group, the Martin Luther King Sr. Collaborative, is run by the church, which compensates Warnock $120,000, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
The money flowing to the Martin Luther King Sr. Collaborative raises questions about whether Warnock personally benefited from the American Rescue Plan while taxpayers shouldered the $1.9 trillion price of the bill that likely fueled 40-year-high inflation.
From 2016 to at least 2020, Warnock was the CEO of Martin Luther King Sr. Collaborative, which was founded by the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the senator raked in $120,000, including benefits, in 2021 on top of his $174,000 Senate salary. Both the church and the social justice group reportedly share the same address.
Watchdog group Americans for Public Trust pointed out Warnock’s seeming conflict of interest is not a “great look” while he campaigns for reelection against Georgia football star Herschel Walker, whom Donald Trump has endorsed.
“It’s not a great look to learn that a U.S. senator cast the key vote that awarded his former nonprofit tens of thousands of dollars,” Americans for Public Trust executive director Caitlin Sutherland told the Beacon. “And now that it’s been revealed that Warnock is receiving a housing allowance from Ebenezer, this arrangement seems rife with potential conflicts of interest.”
It should be noted that Martin Luther King Sr. Collaborative’s new CEO, Kenneth Palmer, also sits on the board of Ebenezer Baptist Church, the same house of worship that pays Warnock $52,000 more than the median American household income.
A year after the American Rescue Pan passed the Senate in March 2021, Warnock stated that he is “so proud to have secured more than $550 million from the American Rescue Plan to help bolster our broadband networks and am glad to see this money has already paid dividends.”