And the oppo-research hits just keep comin’, although they may be getting a bit more obscure. The latest attack on Raphael Warnock from Fox News doesn’t paint him as an extremist, but rather as a tax dodger. While Warnock ran the New Georgia Project, the GOTV non-profit accumulated tax liens for failures to pay unemployment insurance — hardly the mark of a leader focused on the working class:
The New Georgia Project, which Raphael Warnock was the chairman of for three years, was hit with liens for failing to pay unemployment taxes in three different quarters in 2018 while the now-Senate candidate was at the helm of the group. …
The liens, which had not been canceled as of Thursday, totaled more than $7,800 combined. One lien was issued in February 2019 and encompassed the quarters ending on June 30, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2018. The other was issued in May 2019 and hit the group for not paying its unemployment taxes in the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2018.
Warnock chaired New Georgia Project, which was founded by Stacey Abrams, from 2017 to early 2020, when he left to run for Senate. The New Georgia Project is a group that aims to register voters, particularly people of color and younger voters. …
The New Georgia Project has recently grabbed headlines after Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced an investigation into the New Georiga Project, among other groups, for seeking to “aggressively” register “ineligible, out-of-state, or deceased voters” before the state’s Jan. 5 Senate runoff elections.
It turns out that the NGP has been the subject of more than one investigation. The Washington Free Beacon first reported on this issue last Wednesday, but it apparently flew under the radar while other revelations about Warnock’s history of radical affiliations unfolded. That doesn’t diminish the hypocrisy from Warnock over the last few months, though:
The tax liens could pose an obstacle for Warnock, who has campaigned for the expansion of unemployment benefits and vowed to crack down on tax loopholes. They could also draw more scrutiny to the New Georgia Project, which is currently under investigation by the Georgia secretary of state for allegedly attempting to register out-of-state voters. …
Warnock has made the extension of unemployment benefits a centerpiece of his campaign, arguing that his opponent, Republican senator Kelly Loeffler, won’t do enough to help Georgians who are out of work due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have to make sure that the people who can’t work have the benefits they need,” said Warnock in an interview with the AARP in October. “And we have to make sure that when people are unemployed, that unemployment insurance benefits are there.”
How did it get to the point where the state had to impose liens? Alana Goodman asked a tax attorney, who wondered the same thing:
“In almost all circumstances, it takes quite a while before a lien is filed against an individual or business taxpayer by the IRS or any state taxing authority,” Bezozi said. “Throughout my career, I have only seen liens filed when an individual or business blatantly ignores ongoing written correspondence sent to them by a taxing authority.”
It seems curious that it would have gotten that far, especially with the amounts in question. This should have been relatively easy to discharge, especially for a high-profile outfit like the New Georgia Project. And given its progressive nature, it should have raised red flags almost immediately as a political problem if these liens in particular made news. How bad does it look that a progressive shop like NGP won’t pay the bills that specifically protect workers in the event that they lose their jobs — especially while promoting candidates and policies that require higher taxes?
Perhaps more media outlets will ask NGP and Warnock to explain that. So far, though, neither are talking about the group’s tax delinquencies. Maybe they should ask Jon Ossoff to get it straightened out instead.