The Department of Justice has told the Federal Election Commission to hold off on any enforcement action against Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) in the DOJ’s clearest signal yet that it’s conducting its own criminal investigation into Santos’ campaign finances, The Washington Post reported Friday.
The Justice Department also asked the FEC to provide any relevant documents for an investigation, sources told the Post.
Santos has issued a plethora of lies about his heritage, family, education and work experience. He has ignored calls for his resignation and has claimed he merely “embellished” his résumé.
Changes this week on his campaign finance forms also indicated that a $700,000 donation that had been identified as his own personal loan did not come from Santos. That leaves a significant mystery about the source of the funds.
Santos’ campaign committee told federal regulators on Wednesday that it had hired a new treasurer, but the man it named said he had not accepted the job.
Santos has said he was making $55,000 a year before he launched the Devolder Organization in 2021. Funding for the mysterious company — which had no website and was dissolved not long after it was started — is murky. But Santos claimed it rocketed his salary to $750,000 (with up to $10 million in dividends).
In a separate investigation, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday conducted interviews on Santos’ role in the investment firm Harbor City Capital, which shut down in 2021 after the SEC accused it of operating a “classic Ponzi scheme,” the Post reported.
FEC investigators will likely honor the Justice Department’s request and step back from their civil investigation to let the DOJ conduct a criminal probe, the Post reported.
The DOJ back-off request “indicates there’s an active criminal investigation,” campaign finance lawyer Brett Kappel told the Post.
David Mason, a former FEC commissioner, told the newspaper: “They don’t want two sets of investigators tripping over each other. And they don’t want anything that the FEC, which is a civil agency, does to potentially complicate their criminal case.”
Check out the full Washington Post story here.