Investigative Group

Raphael Warnock Swore Off Corporate PAC Money — But Took Thousands From PACs Funded By Big Corporations

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Gabe Kaminsky Investigative Reporter
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Sen. Raphael Warnock has collected tens of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from political action committees (PAC) funded by corporations this election cycle, records show. At the same time, the Georgia Democrat has said he’s “never taken a dime of corporate PAC money” and pledged not to do so.

Warnock’s campaign took $29,600 during the first and second quarters of 2022 from Democratic leadership PACs that have in turn accepted $1.6 million from corporate-backed PACs since 2003, according to Federal Election Commission records (FEC) reviewed by the Daily Caller News Foundation. (RELATED: Mark Kelly Raked In Cash From Corporate-Backed PACs Despite Pledging To Refuse ‘Corporate PAC Money’)

“I’ve made the decision to reject corporate PAC money, so I’m fully relying on grassroots folks like you to power our reelection campaign to victory,” Warnock’s campaign wrote in a fundraising email Wednesday.

Ameripac, which is tied to Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, gave $5,000 to Warnock’s campaign in June, filings show. The leadership PAC has gotten $373,000 since 2003 from PACs for Google, CVS, Lockheed Martin, General Electric and Pfizer.

Green Mountain PAC, which is the leadership PAC for Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, donated $2,500 to the senator’s campaign in March, filings show. Leahy’s PAC has received $489,250 since 2005 from PACs for General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, AT&T, Microsoft, Deloitte, Lockheed Martin, Google, Comcast and Pfizer, records show.

“Raphael Warnock is the ultimate actor,” Stephen Lawson, a Republican strategist in Georgia, told the DCNF. “Whether it’s in terms of his voting record for billions in wasteful spending or taking huge sums from liberal corporate mega donors. He’s the ultimate hypocrite and I think Georgia voters see through his lies and his hypocrisy.

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 6: Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) speaks to reporters as he departs a vote on the Senate floor on Capitol Hill on August 6, 2022 in Washington, DC. The U.S. Senate plans to work through the weekend to vote on amendments to the Inflation Reduction Act, expected to conclude on Sunday, August 7, 2022. (Photo by Anna Rose Layden/Getty Images)

“I’m not taking a cent of corporate PAC money – and unlike the GOP’s megadonors, I don’t have millions to sink into my campaign,” Warnock tweeted last year with a campaign donation link. “Our average online contribution is just $25.41. This is a grassroots campaign, so please chip in before midnight tonight.”

It is also not merely PACs funded by corporations that have bolstered Warnock. The senator’s campaign earned $8,400 during quarters one and two of 2022 from corporate lobbyists, including those working for Amazon, AT&T, Pfizer, CVS and the Carlyle Group, according to FEC records and data provided by OpenSecrets.

Warnock notably took in over $140,000 from Democratic leadership PACs supported by corporate PACs in 2020, the Washington Free Beacon reported. He also took in over $317,000 from PACs backed by corporate PACs in 2021, National Review reported.

“I’ve never taken a dime of corporate PAC money, period,” the senator also posted on Facebook in 2021. “This will always be a grassroots campaign, but we’re going to need a massive coalition to keep Georgia blue. Can you chip in today?”

The senator is facing off in November against Republican Herschel Walker — a former NFL player. Warnock leads Walker by nearly three points, according to a FiveThirtyEight polling average.

Warnock’s campaign did not respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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