Federal Complaint Against George Santos Over Fraud Allegations Revealed

0
752

Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), who represents a district in the New York City area, has sent a request to the Federal Election Commission for an investigation into the campaign finances of George Santos, a first-term GOP Congressman whose district includes portions of New York’s Long Island and a different part of New York City.

“Given what we know through public reporting, it is outrageous to me that Mr. Santos was even allowed to be sworn in officially as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Torres said Tuesday. “But now, there are serious questions that need to be answered surrounding the way in which he supposedly financed his illegitimate campaign for elected office that was built on a web of deception encompassing nearly every facet of his professional and personal life. The American people – and the people of New York’s third congressional district – deserve to be represented by someone who will serve them with honesty, transparency, and integrity. Rep. Santos has proven himself to be not only a habitual liar who’s supremely unqualified to be serving in Congress, but someone who desperately needs to be held accountable for breaking the public’s trust and potentially breaking the law.”

Santos was caught lying about a staggering array of subjects, including basic facts about his life — to the extent that he personally claimed on tape he had two knee replacement surgeries in connection to impacts from his supposed time as a volleyball player at Baruch College, where he never actually attended. Other extreme examples are his contention grandparents of his were Holocaust survivors despite what is apparently no evidence they were even born in Europe. What kind of person lies like that? Santos is also facing financial questions, like how a firm called RedStone played into fundraising for his 2022 Congressional campaign, which Torres highlighted in his new request for a federal investigation.

An apparent friend of Santos active in GOP political circles in Queens who joined the bid to raise money told a prospective donor in an email RedStone Strategies was an “independent expenditure” group behind the effort to elect Santos that allegedly already raised $800,000. Here’s the kicker: it’s unclear what RedStone actually was and where that money was funneled or spent. The group, despite clear federal rules, was never registered with U.S. officials dealing with campaign finance, and there are no publicly available records documenting its financial transactions like are often available for political orgs who follow the registration rules. That’s based on info from the Federal Election Commission itself and gathered by The New York Times.

There is a private firm operating under that name that was registered in Florida and connects to Santos, and that firm apparently bills itself as dealing with political fundraising — but again, there was no evident registration of the group with U.S. authorities that would fulfill basic reporting requirements.

If RedStone Strategies was a registered super PAC, which is a form of political group separate from individual campaigns, then there’s another problem — Santos personally solicited funds for the RedStone fundraising effort on at least one occasion, despite strict prohibitions on candidates directly coordinating with super PACs, where fundraising limits are much looser than for campaigns. Torres also highlighted this issue — although the problems extend from there, like how RedStone (which, in apparent reference to the same effort, was also called Redstone Action at one point) was described as “a 501(c)4 political organization formed specifically to influence the election in NY-03” — but tax-exempt groups using that classification can’t devote the entirety of their work to campaigning!