In a new report published by the House Ethics Committee on Thursday, embattled New York Representative George Santos has allegedly been found to have stolen funds from his campaign, deceived donors, falsely reported personal loans, and more – all in order to live a life of luxury in Ferragamo, Hermès and other luxury brands.
According to the report, Santos – who has been the subject of a number of controversies since taking office earlier this year – allegedly sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit and blatantly stole from his campaign.
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The Investigative Subcommittee, or ISC, also found that, despite his attempts to blame others for much of the misconduct, Representative Santos was a knowing and active participant in the wrongdoing. Particularly troubling was Representative Santos’ lack of candor during the investigation itself.
“Representative Santos was frequently in debt, had an abysmal credit score, and relied on an ever-growing wallet of high-interest credit cards to fund his luxury spending habits,” the report by the ISC said. “He occasionally deposited large amounts of cash that he has never accounted for, moved money between his various bank accounts in a highly suspicious manner, and made over $240,000 cash withdrawals for unknown purposes.”
Among the luxury purchases Santos made with campaign money was about $6,000 worth of items from Ferragamo stores a week after his campaign allegedly transferred $20,000 from his Devolder Organization in November last year. The report also found that the same $20,000 transfer was used to pay an undisclosed amount for Santos’ personal rent, while another $800 in cash was withdrawn from a casino ATM and $1,000 more from an ATM near Santos’ apartment.
FN has reached out to Ferragamo for comment.
In October 2022, another deposit from Santos’ campaign led to more personal purchases. “After $50,000 of [campaign donations] from RedStone Strategies LLC was deposited into Representative Santos’ personal accounts, the funds were used to, among other things: pay down personal credit card bills and other debt; make a $4,127.80 purchase at Hermès; and for smaller purchases at Only Fans; Sephora; and for meals and for parking,” the report said.
Several other expenditures related to spa services and/or cosmetic procedures could not be verified as having a campaign nexus, the report added. For example, during the 2020 campaign, a $1,500 purchase on the campaign debit card was made at Mirza Aesthetics. The report stated that this expense was not reported to the FEC and was noted as “Botox” in expense spreadsheets produced to the ISC.
Similarly, a $1,400 charge at Virtual Skin Spa was a campaign debit card purchase that was also described as “Botox”. The ISC also identified an unreported PayPal payment of $1,029.30 to an esthetician associated with a spa in Rhinebeck, N.Y.
The Ethics Committee pointed to correspondence between Santos and his former treasurer Nancy Marks about “discrepancies” in his campaign’s FEC filings, such as an $80,000 loan “which he knew to be fictitious.”
“Rather than exonerate Representative Santos,” the investigators wrote, “these materials only further underscored that Representative Santos was: highly involved in his campaign’s financial operations; focused on projecting large fundraising numbers on his FEC reports; and aware of issues relating to the campaign’s reporting.”
Santos did not submit any response to the accusations against him and refused to be interviewed by the Ethics Committee, investigators said.
In a post on X Thursday evening, Santos ironically wrote that “politics is indeed dirty, dirty from the very bottom up,” adding that he will “continue to fight” for what he believes in and will “never back down.”
“What the ethics committee’ did today was not part of due process, what they did was poison the jury pool on my on going investigation with the DOJ,” Santos wrote in the post. “This was a dirty biased act and one that tramples all over my rights.”
In a separate X post on Thursday, Santos wrote that the report is a “disgusting politicized smear” campaign. “If there was a single ounce of ETHICS in the ‘Ethics committee’, they would have not released this biased report,” he wrote. “The Committee went to extraordinary lengths to smear myself and my legal team about me not being forthcoming.”
In this same post, Santos announced he would not seek reelection for a second term in 2024.
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