The watchdog group accuses George Santos of marketing campaign finance violations in an FEC grievance
New York Republican Rep. Elect George Santos attends the US House of Representatives January 4, 2023 voting for a new Speaker at the US Capitol in Washington, DC.
Olivier Douliery | AFP | Getty Images
A national monitoring group has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission against US Republican Rep. George Santos for allegedly violating numerous campaign finance laws during his successful run for Congress.
The Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan campaign monitoring organization, filed the complaint with the FEC on Monday. The group accuses the Santos campaign of allegedly violating campaign finance laws in three counts, including one linked to a $705,000 loan that lawmakers made for his campaign.
“It is far more likely that after he failed to win his 2020 bid for Congress, Santos and other unidentified individuals hatched a plan to covertly — and illegally — pour money into his 2022 campaign,” the complaint reads . “The hidden true source behind $705,000 in donations to Santos’ campaign could be a corporation or a foreigner — both are categorically barred from donating to federal candidates.”
The FEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A Santos spokeswoman referred CNBC to the congressman’s attorneys. A Santos attorney did not respond to a request for comment.
Santos is under scrutiny by congressional lawmakers and federal agencies for lying and embellishing key elements of his resume during his campaign for Congress in 2022. According to NBC News, prosecutors for the Eastern District of New York are investigating Santos’ finances, including possible irregularities related to financial disclosures and loans Santos made to his campaign while he was running for Congress.
Santos admitted to beautifying his resume in an interview with City & State New York. While apologizing to anyone who is “disappointed with the CV beautification,” he vehemently denies committing any crimes.
The Campaign Legal Center claims that the loan he made for his campaign may have come from a straw donor. Santos’ most recent financial disclosure says he made $750,000 from 2021-2022 from his company, the Devolder Organization. Santos told WABC radio host John Catsimatidis, who also donated to Santos, that the loan came from “money I paid myself through the Devolder organization.”
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The watchdog accuses Santos of possibly concealing the true source of the money his campaign claimed was credit.
The group also accuses Santos’ campaign of falsifying its reported payouts and using campaign funds to cover personal expenses.
“George Santos lied to voters about many things, but while it may not be illegal to lie about your background, deceiving voters about your campaign funding and spending is a serious violation of federal law,” said Adav Noti, legal director at Campaign Legal Center said in a statement. “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 the public a debt of discovering the truth about how George Santos raised and spent the money he used to run for public office and around the world Ensure accountability for Santos’ illegal conduct.”