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Herschel Walker’s charitable donations become his latest controversy

The Georgia candidate pledged that 15% of his business's profits would go to charities. It appears, once again, the Republican failed to keep his word.


The most damaging of Herschel Walker’s lies tend to involve the Senate candidate himself. The Georgia Republican, for example, has said he was a University of Georgia graduate, but that wasn’t true. He said he was his high school’s valedictorian, but that wasn’t true. He repeatedly claimed to have a background in law enforcement, but those claims simply weren’t true. Walker hasn’t even told the truth about the number of children he has fathered.

But just as dramatic are the Senate hopeful’s claims about his background in the private sector. Walker is already on record making false claims about being the founder of a charity for veterans, and it was against this backdrop that The New York Times reported:

Mr. Walker, a former football star, pledged that 15 percent of profits [from his food-distribution business] would go to charities, a promise the company said was “part of its corporate charter.” For years, Mr. Walker’s company named four specific charities as beneficiaries of those donations, including the Boy Scouts of America and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. But there is scant evidence that Mr. Walker’s giving matched those promises.

According to the Times’ reporting, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, one of the four charities didn’t want to answer questions, while the other three confirmed that they had “no record or recollection of any gifts” from Walker’s company in the past decade.

The Republican’s campaign team made no real effort to challenge the underlying contentions. A Walker spokesperson said the candidate has donated to charities — which is likely true, but beside the point — but the Times added that the political operation “declined to say when, how or even if Mr. Walker’s company had made the donations it promised.”

Lying about charitable contributions is definitely a problem, but maybe his supporters will argue that Walker was at least a successful businessman, even if he failed to follow through on his philanthropic commitments? They might, if that were true, but it’s not.

As regular readers might recall, The Associated Press reported last year that Walker’s record includes “exaggerated claims of financial success” and a history of alarming his business associates with “unpredictable behavior.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a related report in March, highlighting the false claims, lawsuits, and unpaid loans as part of Walker’s private-sector background.

A month later, The Daily Beast advanced the story further, noting the first-time candidate’s “particularly egregious” lies about his business experience, which “appear to bear no resemblance to reality whatsoever.”

Given that the GOP candidate tends to point to his business record as proof of his Senate qualifications, this seems like a rather significant problem.