Republican deputy made a series of launches of US$ 199.99, a value limit that does not need to be broken down
New York Congressman George Santos made a series of unusual payments using his election campaign money. From luxury hotel stays, to multiple payments of $199.99 –$0.01 below your maximum spending amount without needing to show a receipt. The information is from The New York Times.
In all, US$ 365,399 (about R$ 1.9 million at current exchange rates) in expenses were not broken down. According to the North American newspaper, releases without receipts represent 12% of Santos’ total campaign expenses. On average, politicians tend not to detail about 2% of spending.
Other irregularities were also found. Republican candidates, for example, claimed to have received US$ 26,000 in donations from Santos, but these amounts do not appear in the deputy’s campaign accounts. According to the newspaper, the Republican team changed the financial records 36 times.
The congressman began his election campaign in early 2021, just months after losing to Democrat Thomas R. Suozzi in a close race. As per the The New York Times, their expenses were high from the beginning. He made trips to places where he had no declared opponents and stayed in luxury hotels.
In December 2021, for example, he paid around $90,000 for trips to Kansas and Michigan. As stated in January of the following year, it was US$ 266.66 in 5 trips by Uber and taxis; $828.78 for stays at the Hyatt Regency, Kansas; $140.54 with food, including $60.54 at a sushi restaurant.
Four months later, Santos edited the accounting report and included more than 1,200 payments to “anonymous”, nearly all from $199.99. The values added up to more than US$ 250,000. The cost with the 5 rides of Uber and taxis increased to US$ 445.22. The sushi restaurant bill was $199.99. Another 3 expenses of $199.99 were added to the date.
Campaigns are not required to itemize expenditures under $200 under US election law. However, larger expenses, even if divided into several transactions, need to be scrutinized. In this case, the US$ 365 thousand could only appear as “anonymous” in the report if they had been paid to more than 1,800 different vendors or service providers. However, only 270 were listed.
When questioned, Santos’ lawyer, Joe Murray, said it would be inappropriate to comment because there were ongoing investigations.
Santos, 34, faces a series of investigations in relation to his candidacy in the 2022 midterm elections. He was elected by Long Island, New York, and said he lied about his resume during the candidacy.
The Republican claimed to have graduated in finance and economics from Baruch College and New York University, and worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but turned back on December 26, 2022. “I did not graduate from any higher education institution. I am ashamed and sorry for having graced my resume.”these. “I admit it… we do stupid things in life”.
Santos is the son of a Brazilian couple who emigrated to the US at a young age. On his website created for the campaign, he says that his family “embodies the American Dream – where anyone can work hard, play by the rules, achieve success and help others”.
The congressman was the first openly gay Republican elected. Santos was previously married to a woman for 5 years, from 2012 to 2017.
On January 10, 2023, Democratic Representatives Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, both from New York, filed a complaint against George Santos with the House Ethics Committee. Lawmakers asked the committee to investigate Santos about the lies on his resume, and whether he broke the law by filing his financial statements late and without important details.