George Santos Won't Be Finishing His Term... Because He'll Be In Prison
If every liar in Congress went to prison, DC would be out of business. No one goes to prison for lying and that was never going to be a real problem for George Santos. The problem has always been about the crimes, not about the lies. He can say whatever he wants about volleyball but the massive campaign finance fraud is what’s going to put him in prison. The Democrat and Republican parties of Nassau County have already been laying out plans for a special election to fill his seat, since he is being investigated by the New York Attorney General, the Nassau County District Attorney, the Queens County District Attorney, the Federal Election Commission, the House Ethics Committee, The Securities and Exchange Commission and, most ominously, the Justice Department.
And, in fact, last night Isaac Stanley-Becker, Jonathan O’Connell and Emma Brown reported that the Justice Department asked the FEC to stand down while they put their case against Santos, or whatever his name is, together. Hopefully, they will also discover if he’s legitimately an American citizen or not. The Feds have “asked the Federal Election Commission to hold off on any enforcement action against George Santos… as prosecutors conduct a parallel criminal probe… The request, which came from the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section, is the clearest sign to date that federal prosecutors are examining Santos’ campaign finances.” The Justice Department also asked to see all relevant documents the FEC has in their possession.
Believe me, no one is looking into “résumé embellishment.” The Post further reported that yesterday the SEC “interviewed two people about Santos’ role in Harbor City Capital, an investment firm that was forced to shut down in 2021 after the SEC accused it of operating a ‘classic Ponzi scheme.’ SEC interest in those people came after they were quoted Wednesday in the Washington Post describing how Santos solicited an investment in Harbor City at an Italian restaurant in Queens in late 2020.” Some of the Ponzi scheme alumni appear to have funneled inordinately large sums of money into Santos’ campaign— as did Sam Bankman-Fried, through straw donors at FTX, Claire Watanabe and Ramnik Arora, as well as Ryan Salame, who generally gave FTX loot to Republicans while Bankman-Fried and his mother and brother were giving it to conservative Democrats. Oh… and the Kremlin… they also funneled cash into Santos’ campaign.
“Basically they don’t want two sets of investigators tripping over each other,” said David Mason, a former FEC commissioner. “And they don’t want anything that the FEC, which is a civil agency, does to potentially complicate their criminal case.”
The request “indicates there’s an active criminal investigation” examining issues that overlap with complaints against Santos before the FEC, said Brett Kappel, a campaign finance lawyer at D.C.-based Harmon, Curran, Spielberg & Eisenberg.
Those complaints, including one filed earlier this month from the Campaign Legal Center, direct particular attention to more than $700,000 that Santos claims to have loaned his 2022 campaign. CLC’s complaint alleged that Santos masked the source of that funding, while also misrepresenting campaign spending and using campaign resources to cover personal expenses.
On Wednesday, the Santos campaign submitted paperwork to the FEC replacing treasurer Nancy Marks, a longtime accountant for GOP candidates in New York, with Wisconsin-based Thomas Datwyler. Datwyler’s lawyer previously told The Post that his client never signed or authorized the documents and had communicated to the campaign that he did not intend to serve as treasurer.
On Thursday, the FEC sought more information about the disputed filing. “It has come to the attention of the Federal Election Commission that you may have failed to include the true, correct, or complete treasurer information,” the regulator wrote to Datwyler in a letter requesting further information.
Datwyler’s lawyer told The Post on Friday that he plans to tell the FEC that his client did not submit the filing and that it should be withdrawn.
Marks has not responded to requests for comment.
Over the past two years, FEC analysts have repeatedly identified problems with Santos’ filings with the regulator, sending multiple letters seeking clarification or correction of apparent issues, including accepting contributions beyond the allowable limit, omitting required donor information and failing to fill out required forms to report details about the loans Santos claims to have made to his campaign.
Late last year, the offices of New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly (R) and Queens County District Attorney Melinda Katz (D) all said they were looking into whether Santos broke any laws in their jurisdictions. Spokespeople for each office told The Post this week that they had no further updates.
At the SEC, regulators alleged in federal court in 2021 that Harbor City was running a Ponzi scheme that raised $17.1 million from more than 100 victims. Santos, who was not named in that lawsuit, worked for the firm for more than a year, receiving his last payments in April 2021, the same month the SEC sought to freeze its assets, The Post has previously reported. Santos has said he was unaware of any alleged fraud by Harbor City.
Since Santos has shown himself to be a compulsive liar, I don’t understand what The Post would bene include that last sentence. Anyway, also last night Noah Lanard and David Corn reported that Santos’ campaign reports are filled with fake donors reported to be living at fake addresses. “The donations,” they wrote, “are the latest in the Long Island fabulists’ seemingly endless series of political mysteries.”
His Republican colleagues in the House largely avoid him… with two exceptions: Marjorie Traitor Greene and Matt Gaetz. When Greene introduced some crackpot amendment on Thursday evening, 205 Republicans and 213 Democrats voted against it. Only 14 real fringe characters voted for it— Santos included. Politico: “To my knowledge, hardly any of the New York members speak with him,” said first-term Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY), the first GOP member to call for Santos to resign. “There’s really nothing to speak about. He’s a totally untrustworthy individual who has broken the public’s trust … He’s become an embarrassment. He’s become a joke.”
Politico also noted that “Santos, for his part, brushed off the calls for him to resign, arguing that ‘everybody’s entitled to their opinion and to their prerogative, but at the end of the day, we’re all working here in this body.’ But even if he can finish his term, his time in office may be limited to two years: He’d face an incredibly steep climb to reelection, with the Nassau County GOP and New York Conservative Party already pushing for his departure. So for the time being, Washington might find him next seeking relationships across the aisle. Santos also said in an interview that he ‘can’t wait to start talking to Democrats.’”
Each member of Congress is provided with 18 full-time staff positions to spread across their DC and district offices as they see fit. Who would work for George Santos, or whatever his name is? This morning, Joe Heim and Meagan Flynn reported that “Taking a job for Santos could prove dicey for staffers. In conversations with more than a dozen former and current Republican and Democratic lawmakers and staff members, many wondered if those who go to work for Santos, particularly higher-level staffers, would ever be able to find another congressional office that would hire them. So far, there is public information available for just five positions that Santos has filled, including chief of staff and communications director, according to LegiStorm, which tracks and posts congressional hiring. The initial makeup of Santos’s staff seems to lack the deep Capitol Hill experience that new members typically seek to help them get off to an effective start and quickly adjust to the rhythms and demands of Congress.”
He hired his campaign manager, Charles Lovett, to be his chief of staff, someone with no Capitol Hill experience. That almost immediately dooms Santos to a failed term in Congress. He hired a far right sociopath Viswanag Burra, as his operations director. His previous experience was working, briefly for Matt Gaetz and then working as executive secretary for a neo-Nazi organization, the New York Young Republican Club. Santos hired another fringe crackpot, Rafaello Carone, senior legislative assistant, who has worked in very junior positions— and very briefly— for 3 GOP radicals, Greg Steube (2 months), Paul Gosar (1 month) and then Madison Cawthorn, for whom he tweeted for 6 months. Gabrielle Lipsky, who served as Santos’ campaign press secretary, will be his press secretary and office manager. She has no Hill experience.
Jimmy Keady, a Virginia-based GOP strategist whose career as a Hill staffer included stints in senior staff for congressional freshmen, said it’s “imperative” that a freshman member of Congress surround themselves with Hill veterans who know what they’re doing — otherwise, they may find themselves underwater pretty quick.
“Capitol Hill is not a place where you can just, you know, walk in and understand what to do,” Keady said. “There are a lot of rules, there's a lot of regulations, and there's a lot of pitfalls that a lot of these freshmen members make because they don't have staff around them who are experienced.”
If a new member isn’t focused on constituent services right away, Keady said, the voters are going to feel it.
…For staffers who have opted to work for Santos, a future on Capitol Hill could prove difficult to negotiate, said George McElwee, who served as chief of staff for former GOP congressman Charlie Dent from Pennsylvania and was also president of the House Chiefs of Staff Association.
“Particularly for staff in those senior roles, people are going to wonder why they’re there. Why are they continuing on?” said McElwee, who is now a lobbyist at a bipartisan firm he co-founded in Washington. “And it’s probably going to hurt them at some point in their job prospects.”
McElwee doesn’t expect Santos to be able to hang on to staffers who hope to have careers on the Hill.
“A lot of the folks in his office probably have an eye to the door and they’re trying to find the route to get out,” he said. “They know it’s not a stable environment for them in their political future.”