February 1, 2023

New questions arise around George Santos’ campaign loans

3 min read





CNN

A war-torn representative’s campaign. George Santos filed the latest reports with federal regulators on Tuesday that appear to raise fresh questions about the source of substantial personal loans he made to his campaign.

The New York Republican, who has been the subject of numerous inquiries about his finances and fabrications about his biography and resume, previously claimed he loaned his campaign more than $700,000.

But in two of the new filings with the Federal Election Commission, the boxes were not checked to indicate that the $500,000 and $125,000 loans came from personal funds.

The Daily Beast First reported on amended FEC filings.

It was not immediately clear what the changes meant, campaign finance experts said.

“I don’t know what’s going on with the loans,” Jordan Leibovitz of the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington told CNN on Wednesday. “This is without a doubt the most confusing FEC filing I’ve ever seen.”

In all, Santos filed 10 amended reports with the FEC on Tuesday — spanning as early as 2021 — as his campaign faces intense scrutiny. The campaign has a history of filing numerous amendments to its original filings. And the agency has sent nearly two dozen letters to his campaign over two election cycles, seeking clarification on his filings.

“This may be the cheapest bookkeeping for any candidate that we’ve ever seen,” Libowitz said. But he said if Santos did not provide the money for the loans, that raises the question of whether it came from a prohibited source.

Although candidates can contribute – or lend – unlimited amounts of their own funds to their campaigns, it is illegal to accept a six-figure contribution from another person. It is also against the law for a corporation to donate any amount of money directly to a congressional candidate.

In a tense exchange with reporters Wednesday morning, Santos would not explain why the campaign reports were redacted and declined to discuss the sources of the funds.

“Let’s make this very clear: I don’t edit anything, I don’t touch anything on my FEC, okay?” he told CNN. “So don’t be neutral and report what I have done because you know every campaign hires honest people.”

CNN has reached out to Santos’ personal attorney, Joe Murray, and his campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, for comment.

Some of the biggest questions surrounding Santos’ campaign activities have centered on financial losses that allowed the Republican to borrow $705,000 for his successful 2022 campaign. Santos flipped a Democratic-held seat on Long Island in November, helping Republicans capture a narrow House majority.

In Santos’ previous unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2020, his personal financial disclosure form listed no assets and a salary of $55,000. Two years later, Santos reported a $750,000 salary from a firm called the Debtor Organization.

They have given different explanations about the nature of the business activities of the developer.

In an interview with Semaphore, Santos described Duelder as doing “deal building” and “specialty consulting” for “high net worth individuals” and said it had “made millions of dollars” within the first six months of launch. made some agreements”. A recent FEC complaint against Santos by the firm Campaign Legal Center notes that Santos previously called it “his family’s firm” and described himself as overseeing $80 million in assets under management.

Ado Noti, legal director of the Campaign Legal Center, said Santos’ filing is still ambiguous.

Over the course of the cycle, the campaign has been “contradictory” in ticking the personal funds box as it relates to loans, he said. So, it’s unclear whether Tuesday’s changes were intentional.

“Like everything related to Santos, it’s a mystery,” Noti said.

Also, he said, the new filings don’t seem to address some of the key questions about Santos’ campaign spending, such as dozens of amounts just under $200.

CNN Previously reported. That campaign reported 37 expenses of $199.99, a penny below the threshold that campaigns are required to retain receipts. In its complaint, the Campaign Legal Center argued that the sheer number of those $199.99 expenses was “inconceivable” and asked the FEC to investigate whether Santos falsified his filings.

Noti said the time has come for the agency to launch a formal investigation or a full audit of Santos’ campaign.

Judith Ingram, a spokeswoman for the FEC, declined to comment, citing the agency’s policy of not commenting on enforcement or potential enforcement matters.

This story has been updated with additional reporting.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *