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Watchdog files complaint against Rep. George Santos' campaign

Alex Brandon
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., top center, sits in the House chamber on the opening day of the 118th Congress at the U.S. Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023, in Washington.

A watchdog group filed a complaint Monday with the Federal Election Commission to investigate Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) campaign fundraising and spending.

The Campaign Legal Center, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, called into question the source of $700,000 in loans Santos lent his campaign. The center also alleges he misrepresented the campaign’s spending and falsified reports to cover personal expenses.

The Federal Election Commission has already asked Santos to explain three campaign donations that exceeded limits, and could order him to refund the money.

Santos faces investigations from federal, state and local prosecutors into the lying of his academic, employment and financial history to get elected. He also may face new criminal charges in Brazil for stealing a checkbook and forging a signature to make personal purchases.

Democrats have already complained to the independent federal Office of Congressional Ethics and the GOP-led House Ethics Committee.

Santos’ campaign used the same treasurer as other Republicans, including former congressman and New York gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin. Nancy Marks served as Santos’ treasurer through the Shirley-based company Campaigns Unlimited.

The company, which has worked with nearly 200 other Republican campaigns and political action committees since 2009, is being investigated along with Santos for lying on the financial disclosure form he filed as a candidate. 

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.