New York Republican Rep. George Santos has been accused of violating campaign finance laws by falsifying disclosures, concealing funding and using funds for personal expenses.
The Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a nonpartisan watchdog organization, alleged Santos’ campaign violated federal law in a legal complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), the agency tasked with enforcing campaign finance laws.
CLC has filed a complaint with the @FEC alleging that recently elected Rep. George Santos and his 2022 campaign committee, Devolder-Santos for Congress, violated federal #CampaignFinance laws.
Here’s an in-depth look at the complaint from CLC’s Roger @g_wieand. https://t.co/wzttOxsZzp
— Campaign Legal Center (@CampaignLegal) January 9, 2023
Santos allegedly loaned his campaign $705,000 for the 2022 midterm cycle, despite having only $55,000 to his name, according to the complaint. Santos claims he made millions of dollars from a company called Devolver LLC, a Florida-based firm with allegedly no public presence and no clients according to his disclosures, the New York Times reported.
The firm was dissolved in September 2022 until Santos reinstated it Dec. 20, the day after the Times’ report. Given the lack of transparency, CLC alleges in its complaint that “unknown individuals or corporations may have illegally funneled money to Santos’s campaign through the newly formed Devolder LLC.”
Additionally, Santos’ campaign allegedly falsified disclosures about the campaign’s disbursements by reporting 40 disbursements between $199 and $200, including 37 disbursements of $199.99, to avoid the threshold for the campaign to send an invoice to the FEC.
The campaign claims it spent $199.99 on multiple transactions with the same vendors such as Il Bacco Ristorante in New York, W Hotel South Beach of Miami, Uber rides, Delta flights and Best Buy purchases, the complaint says.
Santos’ campaign disbursements allegedly demonstrate the illegal use of campaign funds on personal expenses such as rent for his personal residence, the CLC complaint says. (RELATED: New House Committee Aims Specifically At Foreign Influence Of Joe Biden)
“Voters deserve the truth. They have a right to know who is spending to influence their vote and their government and they have a right to know how the candidates competing for their vote are spending those funds,” said Adav Noti, Senior Vice President & Legal Director at Campaign Legal Center.
“George Santos has lied to voters about a lot of things, but while lying about your background might not be illegal, deceiving voters about your campaign’s funding and spending is a serious violation of federal law. That is what we are asking the Federal Election Commission to investigate. As the agency responsible for enforcing America’s campaign finance laws, the FEC owes it to the public to find out the truth about how George Santos raised and spent the money he used to run for public office, and to ensure accountability for Santos’s illegal conduct,” Noti added.
If the FEC finds a violation occurred, “possible outcomes can range from a letter reiterating compliance obligations to a conciliation agreement, which may include a monetary civil penalty. All FEC enforcement matters are kept confidential until they are resolved,” the commission’s website says.
Santos appears to have fabricated significant details about his life, including his ethnicity, upbringing, education and work history, according to the New York Times. He admitted to fabricating details about his life to the New York Post and is under investigation by local and federal prosecutors for his fabrications.
A Santos campaign official directed the Daily Caller to its official press email and the address immediately bounced back.