GOP Rep. George Santos, the newly elected House member from New York who has admitted to fabricating his work and education history, is now being accused of extensive campaign finance violations.
Monday’s allegations come in a complaint the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed with the Federal Election Commission, which could proceed with a formal investigation into Santos. The complaint broadly accuses Santos ― who is already facing other federal and local investigations into lies about his background ― of using his 2022 campaign funds to cover personal needs, lying about how his campaign spent money and hiding the origin of his campaign funds.
Santos, the new complaint claims, has been “knowingly and willfully concealing the true sources of his campaign’s funding, misrepresenting how his campaign spent its money, and illegally paying for personal expenses with campaign funds. Particularly in light of Santos’s mountain of lies about his life and qualifications for office, the Commission should thoroughly investigate what appear to be equally brazen lies about how his campaign raised and spent money.”
Santos’ campaign finance reports contain numerous red flags, the watchdog notes. One is his claim that he loaned $705,000 to his own campaign, even though 2020 records indicate he only had $55,000 to his name. His claims that he earned millions in 2021 and 2022 from a consulting business are “vague, uncorroborated, and non-credible in light of his many previous lies,” the group alleges.
The FEC last week demanded that Santos provide more information about contributions and certain donors to his campaign, according to CNN.
In its complaint, the Campaign Legal Center also flagged dozens of expenses in Santos’ records totaling exactly $199.99 ― just one cent under the amount for which the FEC requires itemized receipts.
“The sheer number of these just-under-$200 disbursements is implausible,” the group says, “and some payments appear to be impossible given the nature of the item or service covered.”
Santos also appears to have used campaign money to pay for his own residence, the complaint alleges. Santos marked more than $13,000 in his disclosure forms as “apartment rental for staff” or “rent & rent deposit” at a New York address for what actually appears to be his own home in suburban Long Island.
One “neighbor said Santos himself had been living there for months,” the complaint says, “and two others said that they had seen Santos and his husband coming and going.”
Santos did not immediately return a request for comment.
After the New York Times reported that it was unable to verify many of Santos’ claims about his personal history, the Long Island politician admitted to The New York Post last month that he had lied throughout his campaign about his job experience and college education.
“My sins here are embellishing my resume,” he said. “I’m sorry.”
Media reports have continued to poke holes in the stories Santos sold voters. Investigations have found evidence that he lied about graduating from college, running a real estate empire, having a high-profile career on Wall Street, running a charity that saved thousands of dogs and being a biracial descendent of Ukrainian Jews whose grandparents survived the Holocaust.
His claims that his mother died as a result of the 9/11 attacks and that four of his employees died in 2016′s Pulse nightclub shooting also appear to be lies.