Where's the money George Santos supposedly gave to other candidates?

It’s been a comparatively peaceful couple of weeks since we were peppered with headlines about the trail of mendacity that New York Republican George Santos leaves in his wake, but clearly good things don’t last forever. Further investigations into both of Santos’ congressional campaigns have turned up yet more evidence of apparent fabrications found in his campaign finance reports. 

In both the 2020 and 2022 elections, Santos claimed to have made generous contributions to other GOP campaigns and conservative groups. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, and many candidates do so if they have the money to spare. But the problem with some of the claimed donations from Santos is that the money didn’t show up in the accounts of the supposed recipients. 

Did this guy even have an accountant working for him?

From Politico:

One of George Santos’ first acts as a candidate for Congress in 2019, according to his campaign finance filings, was making a series of four-figure donations from his campaign to a pair of local Republican groups and President Donald Trump’s reelection committee.

But according to those groups’ own filings, the contributions were never received — and may not have been donated.

The purported donations included $2,800 to Trump’s campaign that isn’t reflected in his campaign finance disclosures — and would have exceeded contribution limits if it did happen as Santos’ campaign reported it. The now-congressman’s campaign reported dispensing thousands more to local groups that did not report receiving the money in filings with the New York Board of Elections.

Since Santos launched his first campaign in 2019, more than three years before he was elected to Congress, his campaign reported more than $9,000 in donations that do not align with what was reported by other groups, according to a POLITICO analysis of campaign finance records. Though a relatively small sum out of millions in campaign expenses, the mismatching reports do fit into a pattern of other inaccuracies and discrepancies in the New York congressman’s finances, dating back to the very early days of his first campaign.

To be fair, some of the donations that Santos claimed to have made did match up with the campaign finance reports of the recipients. But many did not. He claimed to have given $2,000 to Blake Masters’ Arizona Senate campaign in 2021, but the Masters campaign has no record of it. In fact, the address (in Florida) where Santos claimed to have sent the money didn’t even exist.

A 2019 donation to the Town of Oyster Bay Republican Club also proved problematic, primarily because no such club bearing that name exists. In all, more than $9,000 in donations from Santos appear to have been works of fiction. When asked about it, the congressman brushed off the discrepancies as “clerical errors or system errors” that were made by “campaign staff.”

While it’s true that campaign staffers can make mistakes at times (just like any other human), the final responsibility for managing and reporting campaign finance information falls on the shoulders of the candidate. If George Santos actually did have an accountant handling his campaign money, that person should never be employed to work on another campaign again. If Santos didn’t bother hiring a qualified person for the job (one of the first hires any competently run campaign should make), then he has nobody to blame but himself.

These issues will likely prove critical in determining how the sad saga of George Santos plays out. The lies he has told about his religion, his work history, his charitable work, and, well… pretty much everything have ruined his reputation, but they don’t run afoul of the law. But if it is proven that he was playing fast and loose with campaign funds, that will almost certainly see him being unceremoniously ejected from his seat.

Speaking of which, Santos initially told reporters that he would resign if 142 people asked him to. He later “corrected” that claim to say that 142,000 people would need to ask him. Whatever happened to that? One Siena poll showed that 78% of the people in his district wanted him to resign, including 70% of registered Republicans. There were 262,000 votes cast in his race last year. I’m no math major, but 78% of that number sounds like a lot more than 142,000. Oh, well. Maybe he just lied about that too.

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