Final George Santos filings deepen confusion about loans, treasurer
WASHINGTON — Rep. George Santos’ final campaign finance reports for 2022, filed Tuesday, once again did not identify the source of a $125,000 loan to his campaign, deepened the confusion over his treasurer and included an $8,000 payment to a favorite restaurant.
Santos' campaign had not been expected to file the year-end reports by the deadline after its treasurer Nancy Marks earlier Tuesday had told the Federal Election Commission she had resigned on Jan. 25.
Also, her announced replacement rejected the job.
But a new treasurer, named Andrew Olson, filed a report for Santos' main campaign committee, Devolder-Santos for Congress.
The campaign filed year-end reports for its other committees under Marks’ name, despite her filings with the FEC saying she had quit.
“With each new filing and development, it seems that there just continued to be the same or new questions to be investigated,” said Erin Chlopak, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center’s campaign finance senior director. “Not a lot of answers, but certainly more questions.”
Among the questions: The source of the $125,000 loan made on Oct. 26 to the campaign.
Tuesday’s filing for the main committee indicated that Santos did not make that loan from personal funds — the same as an amended postelection report Marks filed last week had indicated.
Neither report detailed the source or interest rate for a loan made by someone other than the candidate, as required by the FEC.
Olson included a caveat that he based the report on “limited information” from Marks.
“I'm not aware of any sort of excuse in campaign finance law where you can say ‘Maybe there's wrong information in here, but it's not my fault,’” said Chlopak, an attorney who worked for nearly a decade at the FEC’s office of General Counsel.
Santos raised little money but made some unusual expenditures after winning the election, his final filing shows.
He raised $28,020 during December, including $16,300 after The New York Times published a story about his fabrications on his resume, according to the filing.
He spent $42,947, including an $8,000 payment to Il Bacco Ristorante in Little Neck, with the note “payment towards outstanding debt,” according to the report filed by Olson.
Before that lump sum payment on Dec. 30, 2022, the Devolder-Santos for Congress committee over the past two years had made 31 payments to Il Bacco for dining and events totaling $14,658, according to FEC records.
The campaign also paid for dinners at Bice Ristorante in Palm Beach, Florida, and Charlie Palmer Steak in Washington D.C., hotel rooms Washington D.C. and in Memphis, and several flights, the filing shows.
Reports filed with the FEC for the Devolder Santos Victory Committee, the Devolder Santos Nassau Victory Committee, the Devolder Santos for Congress Recount committee and GADS PAC, a leadership PAC carried the signature of Marks.
So did the termination reports for Devolder Santos Van Duyne Victory Committee and Santos D'Esposito Nassau Victory Committee.
It is possible Marks completed those reports before resigning, and then filed them Tuesday, experts said.
Marks did not respond to Newsday queries.
Santos’ attorney Joseph Murray on Tuesday declined to comment on the FEC filings, citing the complaints filed with the FEC.
The nonprofit Campaign Legal Center last month filed a complaint with the FEC alleging Santos hid the true sources of funds he lent his campaign, misrepresented the campaign’s spending and used its funds for personal expenses.
Santos refused to answer questions about Marks. "I don't discuss campaign matters on the Hill. I think it's inappropriate," he told Newsday Wednesday.
Also Tuesday, Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) reported to the FEC he had returned $6,800 in donations to Santos and two of his committees.
D'Esposito also said he would not accept funds from a joint fundraising committee with Santos that netted $2,000.
"We have made it a point to return any funds from George Santos or that are connected with the Santos campaign," D'Esposito’s spokesman Matt Capp said.
On Wednesday, Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) asked state and federal regulators to investigate whether Santos during his time working for Harbor City Capital operated as “an unregistered broker who raised funds from unsuspecting investors.”
Torres the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the New York Department of Financial Services and State Attorney General Letitia James to investigate Santos’ time with the Florida investment firm that the SEC in 2021 accused of operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 100 investors out of nearly $17 million.
Meanwhile, Santos defended himself in an interview with OAN, the right-leaning news site. "I've learned my lesson," Santos said. "I can guarantee you everything is always going to be aboveboard. It's largely always been aboveboard. I'm just going to take the extra step now to double check, cross reference everything."
With Laura Figueroa Hernandez
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled the name of the Devolder-Santos for Congress committee.