George Santos, the first out gay non-incumbent Republican to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls himself the “full embodiment of the American dream,” but he appears to have a fraudulent résumé. The New York Times‘ Monday morning bombshell, however, includes some facts that have been previously reported, including in a press release published by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in August, well before Election Day, that apparently was largely ignored.
Santos, endorsed by House GOP Caucus Chair, Rep. Elise Stefanik, also of New York, is a far-right MAGA Republican who will be sworn into office next month after winning a pivotal race for an open congressional seat.
According to the Times’ investigation, Santos has made the following claims, none of which the paper of record could verify.
Santos, who defeated his Democratic rival who is also gay, claims four of his co-workers were killed during the horrific Pulse nightclub mass shooting terror attack. The Times reports its “review of news coverage and obituaries found that none of the 49 victims appear to have worked at the various firms named in his biography.”
Santos claims he worked for both Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but both Wall Street firms “told The Times they had no record of his ever working there.”
Santos claims he graduated from Baruch College in 2010, but officials “could find no record of anyone matching his name and date of birth graduating that year.” He also claims, on the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) website (archived), that he attended New York University, but “an N.Y.U. spokesman found no attendance records matching his name and birth date.”
The Times reports Santos even claimed he founded “an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats,” but there is “little evidence that his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, was, as Mr. Santos claimed, a tax-exempt organization: The Internal Revenue Service could locate no record of a registered charity with that name.” Santos “cited the group as proof of a history of philanthropic work.”
The animal rescue group held one fundraiser, but “the event’s beneficiary, who asked for anonymity for fear of retribution, said that she never received any of the funds, with Mr. Santos only offering repeated excuses for not forwarding the money.”
Santos has a history of facing evictions for more that $12,000 in unpaid rent for two apartments between 2015 and 2017, but in 2021 he tweeted from a different perspective.
“Will we landlords ever be able to take back possession of our property? My family and I nearing a 1 year anniversary of not receiving rent on 13 properties!!! The state is collecting their tax, yet we get 0 help from the government. We worked hard to acquire these assets,” he claimed. “Now it almost feels like we are being punished. I hope that the my senate can see how much harm they are causing us. #landlordrights#EqualRights“
Santos also worked for Harbor City Capital, a Florida-based investment company that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against, “accusing the company and its founder of running a $17 million Ponzi scheme.” Santos was not named in the lawsuit.
That’s just part of the Times’ extensive reporting, reporting that could have been published before the election by the New York-based newspaper.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in August, months before the November election, warned New York voters about Santos.
While the DCCC focused on Santos’ more recent activities, it did report on what it called his “extreme views,” “shady personal finances and ponzi scheme ties,” and his alleged charity.
“Santos failed to file a Personal Financial Disclosure (PFD) for 2021 or 2022 – something he knows is required of a congressional candidate. It begs the question: what is Santos hiding?” the DCCC asked. “Santos failed to disclose any assets or money in his bank accounts on his 2020 PFD, yet loaned his campaign more than $80,000, and has continued to self-fund his 2022 campaign – including a self loan of half a million dollars in the first quarter of 2022.”
“On top of his shady personal finances and ponzi scheme ties,” the DCCC claimed, “Santos claimed he founded and ran a nonprofit animal rescue operation called Friends Of Pets United, but no such organization was found in the IRS’ database.”
The DCCC also highlighted Santos’ views on the January 6, 2021 insurrection.
“While Americans watched in horror as far-right extremists – inspired by the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 election – stormed the Capitol, issued death threats to elected officials, and injured more than 140 police officers in a deadly riot, George Santos praised the rioters. Santos, who has spread debunked lies about ‘rampant fraud’ in the 2020 presidential election, was at the Stop the Steal Rally on January 6th, and even claimed it ‘was the most amazing crowd and the President was at his full awesomeness that day.’”
It also warned that Santos is extremely anti-choice, and would support criminalizing abortion.
“Not only has Santos prided himself as being ‘unapologetically’ anti-choice, he has also admitted that he ‘would be in favor of’ criminalizing doctors who performed abortions, and that he believed rape victims needed to have ‘proven police documentation’ in order to receive an abortion.”
It wasn’t only the DCCC that warned voters about Santos.
In April, The Daily Beast reported Santos “served as regional director of accused scam firm Harbor City Capital, which allegedly misappropriated millions.”
The Beast, using his full name, Devolder-Santos, called him a “young, gay Republican born in New York City to Brazilian immigrants, congressional candidate,” saying he “has embraced a public image as a ‘walking, living, breathing contradiction.’”
“But the would-be successor to Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-New York) seems less eager to share another detail of his personal story: for all his rants against ‘the swamp,’ Devolder-Santos served as a director of an investment firm authorities say bilked millions of dollars from its customers.”
The Daily Beast also reported Santos has a company incorporated in Florida, “one of six stakeholders in Red Strategies USA, another firm founded in the Sunshine State that same month. Five of the six companies involved in Red Strategies belong to former Harbor City employees, including the ex-CFO; the last belongs to Devolder-Santos’s campaign treasurer.”
“Florida state records show Red Strategies as an active concern, and Federal Election Commission disclosures reveal the firm continued to receive payments from Tina Forte—a QAnon-friendly challenger to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—through the end of December 2021.”