The campaign of embattled Rep. George Santos, who is facing federal indictment on fraud and money laundering charges, paid the congressmember $85,000 in the second quarter of this year.
Though the New York representative says he is running for reelection, he spent virtually nothing on campaigning.
The payments the campaign made to Santos stemmed from hundreds of thousands of dollars that the congressmember previously loaned to his campaign. Those loans had sparked questions about how Santos had so much money to lend his political efforts. Previous reports with the Federal Election Commission indicated Santos had loaned the campaign $715,000, although his latest report indicated he was now owed only $530,000.
The loan repayments accounted for more than 60 percent of the $133,000 that Santos reported raising in the second quarter. The first-term congressmember, who lied about much of his biography prior to his election last year, reported having $55,000 cash on hand in his principal campaign committee.
His fundraising was driven primarily by donors who gave the maximum $3,300, his filing shows. Among those who maxed out to the congressmember included individuals who listed their professions as “student” and “housewife” and “parttime job/casher (sic).”
The latest filing with the federal commission also included an unusual note stating that the campaign intended to report accurate totals based on “incomplete” historical data.
Santos’ campaign previously lost money during the first quarter, as refunds issued exceeded new contributions received. Nonetheless, the beleaguered New York congressmember announced in April that he planned to seek reelection.
He was indicted in May on charges including wire fraud and theft of public funds. Prosecutors allege he asked a New York political consultant to solicit donations ostensibly in support of his congressional campaign that were actually transferred to his personal bank accounts.
Santos also allegedly received unemployment benefits in 2020 despite holding a job, and is accused of making false statements on mandatory personal financial disclosures filed during his first congressional campaign.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has not called on Santos to resign in light of the charges but said he should not run for reelection.
Filings earlier this week indicated Santos was in the process of terminating at least two joint fundraising committees that brought in money for his campaign last cycle.
His fundraising this quarter foretells a difficult path to reelection — particularly as he faces challengers from both parties. Kellen Curry, who has filed to run in the Long Island district as a Republican, said earlier in the week that he had raised more than $200,000 across his campaign and a leadership PAC from April through June.
Half a dozen Democrats have also filed to run against Santos, with the party seeing a possible pickup opportunity in a district Biden won in 2020.