Santos Files Re-Election Paperwork that Could See Him Use Campaign Funds For Legal Troubles
Representative George Santos (R., Ny.), who has been under fire for months for fabricating much of his personal history, filed re-election paperwork Tuesday that could see him use campaign funds to defend himself in the various legal inquiries that have been opened.
The backbencher has faced widespread calls to resign from politicians of both parties and his own constituents. He is facing multiple criminal inquiries and ethics investigations. Despite all this, Santos filed a statement of candidacy with the Federal Elections Commission, according to the New York Times. While this does not mean Santos will follow through with a re-election campaign, it is the clearest indication yet he will defend his seat.
The filing allows Santos to continue to raise money and spend it on campaign-related expenses. The Times confirmed that Santos could use the funds to pay back the $700,000 he lent his own campaign, or even cover the legal fees for his ongoing legal troubles.
Election lawyer Brett G. Kappel told the Times that the Commission’s guidance was “pretty liberal” regarding the use of campaign money for legal expenses. Candidates can use funds for legal fees tied to “any investigation related to your status as an officeholder or candidate.”
Santos’ lies vary from small to large. He has fabricated résumé items items like his supposed employment at two Wall Street firms as well as his college education. He has also allegedly swindled a disabled veteran and separately, an Amish dog breeder. Additionally, statements about his mother have been called into question.
The House Ethics Committee established a subcommittee to investigate Santos earlier this month.
According to the committee, the panel will determine if Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”
House speaker Kevin McCarthy (R., Ca.) has maintained that the House would only take action against Santos if the Ethics Committee found cause.
The Nassau County Republican Party, which represents the majority of Santos’ district, has pledged to oppose Santos, meaning a primary fight would be a given if Santos runs.
“He will not receive the Nassau GOP’s endorsement for reelection in 2024,” explained the Nassau County committee’s chairman Joseph Cairo to Bloomberg.
“If he decides to run, we will oppose and beat him. He has no place in public service and I again call on him to do the very first honorable thing in his Congressional career — resign!”
So far Santos has refused.