If You Give A Republican Your Credit Card Number Expect To Be Ripped Off
Jeff Jackson (D-NC), is leaving Congress to run for his state’s open attorney general position. He voted against expelling Santos last time. Yesterday, after he read the jaw-dropping Ethics Committee report, he said “Rep. Santos has received his due process. This report is fully damning. I will vote to expel him.” Jackson wasn’t the only member who changed his mind. Another North Carolinian, Republican Greg Murphy, said the report results are “reprehensible and [Santos is] not worthy of being a member of Congress" and said that he’ll “vote to expel him.” Mainstream conservatives Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) both voted against expulsion last time and both have said they’re voting for expulsion this time. Same for John Duarte (R-CA) who will also vote to kick him out after the Thanksgiving week break.
2/3s [as in every Democrat and 75 Republicans] is what's needed to expel a member-- a high bar-- but it isn’t going in Santos’ direction. He’s trying to offer a deal— he won’t run for reelection so just let him finish his term. MAGA Mike wanted that "solution" but he told Members he found the Ethics report "troubling" and told his conference to vote their conscience and "to consider the best interests of the institution." That is a death knell for Santos. Lots of members who didn’t vote for expulsion last time say they’re going to this time, including Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Deborah Ross (D-NC), Susan Wild (D-PA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Mark Green (R-TN), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Mark Takano (D-CA), Ken Buck (R-CO), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY) and Chris Deluzio (D-PA). And look what Zach Nunn from Des Moines put up early yesterday:
Mark Takano, who voted against expulsion last time issued a statement today that said, in party that he had “read the report of the Investigative Subcommittee of the House Committee on Ethics regarding the conduct of Representative George Santos. Its findings and conclusion are damning... In this particular case, waiting for a verdict in Mr. Santos’ criminal trial would undermine the integrity of our elections and risk conveying to the American people that Congress is unwilling or unable to hold its members to be accountable to the law and decent norms of campaigning... Santos was accorded sufficient due process. While the House is a not a court of law, a bipartisan investigation accorded Mr. Santos the opportunity to respond to the allegations made against him. I call on Mr. Santos to resign for his unprecedented bad conduct— which has brought discredit to the House— before another motion to expel him is made. If he will not resign, I am prepared to vote for his expulsion.”
Troy Nehls (R-TX) expressed the old and now outdated MAGA Mike perspective: “[W]hy would we want to expel a guy... We've got a three-seat, four-seat majority. What are we doing? I think until he's convicted, I'm going to hold off.”
Michael Guest (R-MS), the chair of the Ethics Committee said he plans to file a privileged resolution to expel Santos, which will trigger a vote a few days after the House is back from its long Thanksgiving recess. You can read the last page of his 5 page resolution, above. Late yesterday, Nick Fandos took a look at how Santos was spending all the stolen money.
$6,000 at Ferragamo, perhaps some of it on the red designer sneakers he later wore to walk the marble halls of Congress
$800 in cash at a casino to play roulette
To pay off his rent
Sending money ($20,000)
Purchases at the French fashion house Hermès
OnlyFans purchases (porn)
The Ethics Committee reported that “Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit. He blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit.”
One of the big mysteries of the Santos saga has always been where a broke shlubb like him got the money to donate— hundreds of thousands of dollars— to his campaign.This is a guy who was being evicted for non-payment of rent, working in a call center and stealing from friends and neighbors. And suddenly he contributed nearly a million dollars to his campaign. Some came from the Kremlin via the cousin of sanctioned Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, a Putin patsy. And some of it was stolen FTX funds… but that still left around $700,000 unaccounted for. Presumably the prosecutors who are putting Santos on trial in September will have all the answers. Meanwhile, though, buried deep in the Ethics Committee report, were some of the answers.
It appears that what Santos has always claimed were personal loans from himself to his campaign were part of llegal pass-through and straw donor operations for close to a million dollars, a great deal of it finding it’s way into his own pockets (paying himself back for loans he never made). Remember, Santos had no money— nothing. And yet he loaned his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars. A good deal of it seems to have come from a corrupt family in Florida, a shady attorney named Alex Ruiz, along with his mother Mayra Ruiz and his sister Cristina, and their money laundering company, “A-RU Holdings.” The question now is who gave A-RU Holdings the hundreds of thousands of dollars to pass along to Santos and his crooked RedStone Strategies? And why?
Santos called the report “biased” and designed to smear him and his family. He tweeted “I will not stand by as I am stoned by those who have flaws themselves.” Presumbly he'll announce his resignation at 8am on November 30 on the Capitol steps, when he's called a press conference-- either that or a full drag routine.
Santos started directly using his campaign account— funded by small and large donors who believed they were supporting a Republican for Congress— as a personal slush fund.
Investigators found more than $40,000 in expenditures from the campaign bank account that were never reported to the F.E.C. and appear to have been used for Santos’s personal benefit, in violation of campaign finance law.
They include $1,500 in February 2022 at a business called MAX pets; smaller charges from JetBlue, Home Depot, Hilton Hotels, an urgent care office and Adventureland Amusement Park on Long Island; and more than $1,700 at two Atlantic City casinos, Caesars and Harrah’s. (A former staffer told investigators Santos said he liked playing roulette.)
Investigators flagged a July 2022 “hotel stay” for $3,332.81 that did appear on Santos’s F.E.C. filings. The problem was, Santos’s calendar showed he was in the Hamptons at the time, not engaging in any known campaign activity.
…The report documents an even more audacious self-enrichment scheme a year later, involving a Florida company called RedStone Strategies. Federal prosecutors had already laid out the basics: Two donors gave $25,000 each to RedStone, believing it was an outside committee set up to help Santos; he pocketed the money instead.
… Santos and his lawyers deny financial impropriety. They have repeatedly sought to blame any wrongdoing on Ms. Marks, though the Ethics Committee said the evidence pointed firmly to Santos’ own culpability.
Despite his decision not to seek re-election, Santos is still rebuffing widespread calls for his immediate resignation.
One likely reason? For the first time in his life, Santos has a steady income, a $174,000-a-year House salary.
This morning, Amy Wang reported that Santos “continued railing against the ethics committee and his fellow lawmakers in a lengthy social media post Thursday night. He called his time in office ‘My year from Hell’ and said he would give a news conference on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on the morning of Nov. 30— conceivably when he could already have been expelled, if Guest’s motion is successful. ‘Looking back today I know one thing, politics is indeed dirty, dirty from the very bottom up,’ Santos wrote. ‘Consultants, operatives, the opposition, the party and more … the one thing I never knew was that the process in Congress was dirty. I will continue to fight for what I believe in and I will never back down.’” I can hardly wait for his tell-all book!
There are now enough members of Congress who have said they will vote for expulsion to make it a forgone conclusion. That means there will be a special election, exactly what the local (and national) Democrats and Republicans want. The Democrats will have Tom Suozzi, who will likely win in as close to a landslide victory as a Democrat can win in an area that's been trending red, regardless of who the GOP puts up. Their first choice, state Senator Jack Martins, has told friends he doesn't want to run against Suozzi again and he'll sit this one out. The Republicans are looking at Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Ethiopian Israeli who lives in Nassau County; at a wealthy self-funder, ex-cop Mike Sapraicone; and at the Nassau County Comptroller, Elaine Phillips.