Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has another problem on his hands to go with his mounting legal woes and growing field of 2024 challengers. According to a filing his campaign submitted to the Federal Election Commission on Sunday, Santos’ election operation lost more than $75,000 over the past quarter.
The financial issues for the embattled congressman — who has faced negative headlines for the past year over his admitted litany of lies about his personal history and multiple indictments related to alleged financial improprieties — included over $16,500 in refunds to contributors. Axios, which flagged the filing, noted the majority of the returned funds “went to six large donors, all reportedly California residents who mostly donated $3,300 on June 23.”
Along with refunding contributions, Santos’ campaign spent over $42,000 on expenses. This included spending on a law firm and a campaign treasurer. Santos’ first treasurer, veteran GOP operative Nancy Marks, pleaded guilty to a fraud conspiracy charge related to her work on his campaign on Oct. 5. During Marks’ tenure, Santos’ campaign finance filings were frequently amended and studded with blatant irregularities. Santos was charged in a superseding indictment on Oct. 10 that accused him of reporting a loan to his campaign that did not actually exist, falsely inflating his contribution totals, and placing unauthorized charges on donors’ credit cards, an allegation that was first reported by TPM.
According to prosecutors, some of Santos’ financial maneuvering was aimed at helping him qualify for financial and logistical support from a Republican Party committee during his successful House campaign last year. The lawmaker, who was previously indicted on charges of money laundering, wire fraud, lying to Congress, and theft of public funds in May, has denied any wrongdoing and characterized his legal woes as a political attack.
Santos also reportedly lost money in the first quarter of this year and had relatively thin fundraising in the three months that followed. This latest filing indicates his campaign has just about $22,000 on hand, an exceptionally low sum for a candidate in a competitive House seat. To make matters worse, the report said the campaign has over $750,000 in debt, including loans Santos supposedly made himself, legal expenses, and outstanding obligations to staffers and vendors that, per the filing, were “prior debt” his treasurer became “aware of” this quarter.
Jason Boles, Santos’ latest campaign treasurer, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Santos did not answer text messages asking whether he is confident he will have the necessary funds to defend his seat.
Even as his campaign is running in the red, Santos apparently has continued his habit of spending on food. The filing shows Santos’ campaign spent $839.02 at Washington DC’s Capitol Hill Club for “meals.” The club is a members-only venue for the GOP that is located next door to the Republican National Committee.
Those club fees might also serve another purpose for the besieged lawmaker. According to Bloomberg congressional reporter Steven Dennis, Santos has taken advantage of the club’s privacy to seek “solace” from the reporters who have been following him through the public areas of the House office buildings to pepper him about his various scandals.