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George Santos Illegally Funneled Donations To Campaign: FEC Complaint

Jacqueline Sweet

QUEENS, NY — A watchdog group filed a Federal Election Commission complaint Monday accusing Long Island Rep. George Santos of illegally funneling money from "unknown persons" to his campaign, and deliberately concealing them as a personal $705,000 loan to his own campaign.

The Washington, D.C.-based watchdog group, Campaign Legal Center, named Santos, 34, under the Elmhurst address where his sister reportedly owes $40,000 in unpaid rent. It also names the Devolder Organization, Santos' mysterious firm.

The complaint names Nancy Marks, Santos' campaign treasurer, of Shirley, who served as treasurer of Lee Zeldin's campaign for New York governor last year in addition to Santos' congressional campaign. The complaint named Marks as both treasurer and "in her personal capacity."

The complaint also named "unknown persons that made contributions to Devolder-Santos for Congress in the name of George Anthony Devolder Santos."

After winning the 3rd District seat, the Republican congressman admitted to lying about his work and education background, and other parts of his biography have also come under intense scrutiny, including the origins of the $705,000 he lent in total to his campaign.

In his FEC campaign filings, Santos disclosed an income of $50,000 in 2020, and then a net worth of between $3 million and $11 million in 2022. He also failed to name any clients of the Devolder Organization, which he said was the source of his assets and $1 million in dividends in 2022, and has told varying accounts of the type of financial services or work the firm did.

The watchdog complaint also pointed to possible falsified disbursements on his disclosures, which contain 40 line items at $199.

"The sheer number of these just-under-$200 disbursements is implausible, and some payments appear to be impossible given the nature of the item or service covered," the complaint stated.

"Some of the reported disbursements made by Santos’s campaign appear to violate federal laws prohibiting the conversion of campaign funds to personal use, including disbursements to pay rent on a candidate’s personal residence."

According to his campaign spending filings, Santos' campaign paid rent and security on a Huntington house that neighbors told the New York Times he was living at with his boyfriend for months in the summer of 2020.

The 26-page complaint detailed the intricacies of Santos' filings, and noted dozens of discrepancies and what the complaint calls "brazen lies about how his campaign raised and spent money."

"Viewed as a whole, these facts — particularly the sudden, vaguely explained infusion of millions of dollars into Santos’s newly minted, wholly owned company, which allowed him to make six-figure loans to his campaign — supports finding reason to believe that unknown persons gave money to Santos, through Devolder LLC, for the purpose of influencing a federal election," the complaint said.

A request for comment from Santos and his attorney Joseph Murray wasn't immediately returned.

Murray told the Times on Dec. 29 that "the suggestion that the Santos campaign engaged in any irresponsible spending of campaign funds is just ludicrous."

The complaints asked the FEC to open an immediate investigation of Santos, who was sworn into Congress last week while being under multiple criminal investigations from Nassau County, federal and Brazilian prosecutors.