OpinionPolitics

Like a Snake, Raphael Warnock Slithered into the Senate

Long before Raphael Warnock slithered into the political arena, I came to view him as a snake. That perspective developed during my January 15, 2018 attendance at service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Warnock was pastor.

A visit to the church was an option following a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr birthday event hosted by Georgia Republicans. The day began with Dr. Ben Carson (then serving as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development) addressing the group at the King birthplace. Following Carson’s speech, the group was invited to walk over to the church where additional tributes would follow.

After the last guest speakers concluded, Warnock took to the pulpit and addressed the audience. Warnock’s sermon was clearly aimed at the regular church members in attendance, and just as clearly, he saw the occasion as an opportunity to figuratively spew some venom at the visitors who had walked over from the King birthplace.

The essence of Warnock’s sermon was that Republicans in general, and Donald Trump in particular, were an anathema and should be voted out of office. Warnock obviously was not concerned that preaching politics from the pulpit was grounds for the church’s non-profit status to be revoked.

He was undoubtedly confident that he could slither away from any problems that might subsequently arise and was also confident that being a predominantly black church that was once pastored by Dr. King, he could play the race card to defuse any action that might be taken. You might think that Warnock would honor King’s service to the church and to the nation and avoid making a political attack, but that’s not the way snakes operate. It’s a safe bet that long before he launched his first campaign, Warnock was planning on a future in politics and was using his position at Ebenezer Baptist to lay the groundwork.

Warnock managed to get elected both in the 2020 special election and the 2022 general election because he managed to hide or obscure the liabilities of his past words and deeds. Anyone who didn’t attend one of his politically charged sermons would have no way of knowing he was using the pulpit for political purposes.

But beyond his antics in the pulpit, Warnock has managed to keep sketchy aspects of his past hidden or obscured. And when his opposition brought his issues to light, the media avoided or minimized coverage. In essence, the media served as the grass in which a snake can hide.

Downplayed or ignored by the media included such issues as:

*In 2022, Warnock’s ex-wife filed a lawsuit against him for willful contempt of a child custody agreement.

*His ex-wife also stated that Warnock had run over her (foot) with his car, during an argument in March, 2020. It’s no surprise that an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article about the Warnock lawsuit ended with a paragraph that mentioned Hershel Walker’s (Warnock’s opposition in the 2022 senate campaign) “history of violence against women”.

*Warnock has been sued multiple times for using campaign funds to pay for legal expenses relating to lawsuits filed before he was elected to the senate. Although some of the lawsuits seem baseless, it does appear that at least one relates to Warnock’s use of campaign funds to defend lawsuits filed in 2005 and 2008. According to attorney Charlie spies, “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,”

*In October, 2022, the National Legal and Policy Center filed a complaint stating, “It is abundantly clear that Ebenezer Building Foundation, Inc. has violated one or more IRS laws and regulations regarding the operation of a nonprofit charity.”  Warnock is the principal officer of the foundation.

*In August of 2021, the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT),a non-partisan ethics watchdog group, filed a complaint requesting the Senate Select Committee on Ethics investigate Sen. Raphael Warnock for violating the Senate ethics prohibition on soliciting campaign contributions linked to official Senate action. The Democrat-controlled senate took no action.

And the beat goes on.

The complexities of running for an elected position, result in numerous mistakes and violations- some intentional, others due to ignorance or oversight. But the majority of Warnock’s shady deals and actions appear to be as intentional as a snake bite.

***

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