Following up on Ed’s earlier article, the odd story of New York’s latest Republican addition to the House GOP caucus continues to produce new wrinkles. We already covered the staggering list of things that congressman-elect George Santos apparently lied about on the campaign trail. Some observers haven’t seemed all that upset about this story because let’s face it… a report of a Washington politician telling lies is generally just another day ending in a Y. But beyond his false claims regarding his previous employment history and being “Jew-ish,” a deeper and potentially more problematic storyline is unfolding. Increased scrutiny is being applied to Santos’ campaign finance statements and a company he started in Florida shortly before announcing his candidacy to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District. While nothing has been fully proven yet, the facts and figures just don’t seem to add up and there appears to be a distinct possibility that campaign finance violations may have taken place. (Semafor)
The burning question for many people, including his soon-to-be Republican and Democratic colleagues in Congress, is simple: Where did he get the money to fund his campaign?
“Where did all that money come from?” Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y. tweeted on Tuesday. “The Ethics Committee MUST start investigating immediately.”
When he first ran for Congress in 2020, Santos, who appears to have suffered from financial trouble for much of his adult life, filed disclosures listing no assets and a salary of $55,000, which he earned as a vice president at LinkBridge Investors, a business development firm. But the filings from his most recent run suggest he came into sudden riches, making between $3.5 million and $11.5 million from a company he founded called the Devolder Organization in 2021. He loaned his campaign more than $700,000.
So just last year in 2021, Santos’ financial disclosure statements indicated that he had “no assets” and was earning a salary of $55,000. He didn’t even have his own residence in New York and was boarding with a friend. He had been threatened with eviction from his previous apartment for not paying the rent. All of these facts painted a picture of someone who was in serious financial peril.
Then he somehow incorporated a company in Florida named the Devolder Organization. An assessment of that company’s value this May by Dun & Bradstreet estimated that Devolder had a revenue of only $43,688. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, the Devolder Organization came into millions upon millions of dollars. Santos then loaned almost three-quarters of a million dollars to his political campaign.
I probably don’t agree with Democratic Congressman Ritchie Torres on many things, but he’s clearly asking the right question here. Where did all of that money come from? Jim Geraghty suggested one of the more unpleasant possibilities yesterday.
For all we know, some foreign power may have bought itself a congressman. This isn’t outlandish speculation, as one of his largest donors has ties to the Russian government. The Daily Beast pointed to a February 12 tweet from Santos that reads, “We are going to enter a war in the middle of the Eastern Europe winter against Russia, to defend the sovereignty of Ukraine.”
As I already stated, we’re not accusing Santos of any sort of financial crimes. Nothing has been firmly established at this point. But when someone with such a marginal record of financial performance comes into that kind of money literally in a matter of months without hitting a mega-millions lottery ticket, you have to ask how it happened. That’s even more important when the person in question is heading to Congress and the money was sloshing around in channels regulated by the FEC. I have a feeling that we’ll have some answers before too very long.
In case you missed it previously, watch as Tulsi Gabbard absolutely grills Santos about all of his lies as he attempts to explain that it’s really not a big deal.