It appears there’s a fresh round of confirmation of a federal criminal investigation into George Santos, the first-term Republican Congressman from New York known for his lying. The scope of this probe, based on available information, covers Santos’s campaign finances.
According to The Washington Post, personnel with the federal Justice Department asked that the Federal Election Commission (FEC), which as its name suggests deals with issues of campaign finance, “hold off” on any of its own enforcement action implicating the Congressman as what that publication reported was a “parallel criminal probe” moves forward. Justice Department investigators also asked the agency for “any relevant documents,” as the Post recapped further details from sources. The precise scope of what’s evidently the department’s probe is unclear, with prosecutors at that level largely mum, as is routine. However, public reporting has outlined a host of problems, including the origin of hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign loans that were originally identified as from Santos himself but the campaign has since acknowledged, in amended filings, didn’t constitute personal loans.
A report from Mother Jones also reveals what could be falsified personal details for purported donors to the Santos campaign, which only further begs the question of where on earth this money was originating. Those particular issues involved his 2020 campaign. (Santos has made two runs for Congress and was only successful in the general election the second time.)
The Santos campaign reported in late 2020 that Victoria and Jonathan Regor, who were supposedly residents of New Jersey, maxed out their personal donation limits under federal law in support of his campaign, each giving $2,800. Mother Jones found there’s no record of anyone by those names in the United States — and the claimed address for the Regors doesn’t exist! Another donation was falsely tied to an address for an established GOP donor in southern California under a name different from those actually living there. The dubious donations made up over $30,000 in inflows — out of $338,000 the campaign raised from individual donors in that cycle.
It’s unclear where the deception originated in that situation, although some of the money was falsely attributed to a personal associate of Santos and listed a defunct business venture as that friend’s purported place of employment, suggesting whoever was responsible had a level of personal knowledge and wasn’t just pulling details out of thin air.
Elsewhere, the Santos campaign also recently filed claims with the FEC of a new treasurer — and a letter from that claimed new treasurer, Thomas Datwyler, signed by his attorney, informed the federal agency that he hadn’t actually agreed to the job and asked that the dispute be referred to law enforcement authorities for related examination. Evidently, Santos had sought Datwyler’s participation in his campaign, but he refused the role. There is also the matter of the Santos campaign’s expenses, like the dozens of charges reported at a cent below where the FEC starts mandating documentation like a receipt and the tens of thousands on air travel for a House campaign.