Sen. Raphael Warnock (D., Ga.) raked in thousands in campaign donations from the controversial CEO who called his employees "dumb dolphins," just days after the businessman went viral for abruptly firing 900 employees over a pre-Christmas Zoom call.
Better.com CEO Vishal Garg gave a total of $8,700 to Warnock, including the maximum $2,900 donation to the senator's campaign committee on Dec. 31, according to campaign finance records.
Garg—who has been accused by investors of misappropriating millions and once berated his employees as a "bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS"—made the donations to Warnock while he took a month-long leave of absence to deal with public backlash from the mass layoffs on Dec. 1.
The contributions from a man who has been dubbed the "poster child for bad bosses" could undercut Warnock's attempt to portray himself as a champion of workers' rights and opponent of corporate greed. Warnock has campaigned in support of "equitable employment practices" and blamed inflation on "greedy corporations" that are "taking advantage of the pandemic's economic pressures to rake in unbelievable profits at the expense of Georgia families."
The senator has faced criticism from Republicans for reportedly accepting more than $480,000 from corporate interests, after pledging to forgo corporate PAC donations.
The Georgia Republican Party said Garg's donation shows that Warnock is "so desperate to hold on to power, no money is too dirty."
"Warnock claims he is fighting for Georgians, but he's really just looking out for himself," a spokeswoman told the Washington Free Beacon.
Warnock's campaign did not respond to a request for comment. Better.com did not respond to a request for comment.
Garg late last year shot to international infamy after employees posted clips of him axing 9 percent of the company's workforce, whom he accused of "stealing" from him by not putting in enough hours, during a Zoom meeting.
The public relations mishap followed a string of legal challenges for the mortgage lender CEO, who has also faced lawsuits from angry investors and his former business partner Raza Kahn. During a court deposition, Garg reportedly threatened to "staple [Kahn] against a fucking wall and burn him alive," according to Forbes.
Garg returned to Better.com in January. The company laid off an additional 3,000 employees last month.
Garg has donated to Democrats in prior elections. He gave $2,800 to President Joe Biden in 2019, $40,800 to New Jersey senator Cory Booker in 2020 and 2021, and $5,600 to New York representative Gregory Meeks in 2020.
The Georgia Senate race is expected to be one of the most competitive of the midterm elections and could determine which party controls the upper chamber next year. Warnock, who won the seat in the 2020 special election, is likely to face Republican primary frontrunner Herschel Walker, a former NFL star. The candidates are tied in the RealClearPolitics polling average.