Since the May 10 indictment, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has brought in a staggering sum of about $133,000, according to a new report. campaign finance report— But what’s more interesting than just raising money for Santos is who donated to him and why.
Put simply? It may have something to do with self-proclaimed billionaire Guo Wengui, who defected from China and is now an ardent supporter of the American right-wing movement.
Most of Santos’ fundraising total of $101,861 was collected in just three days, from May 20th to May 22nd. All of these donors have Chinese surnames and almost all donated the maximum allowed amount of $3,300. Twenty-six of them had never donated to Santos, according to Federal Election Commission data. For 14 of the donors, this was the first ever political donation.
On June 23, the same pattern struck again, this time with $24,100, all from donors who had never given him before. It turns out that most of the cash went straight back into Santos’ personal pocket.
Mr. Santos received a total of $125,961 from these donors. About $66,000 of that amount came from donors who had never given to a federal commission before, and more than $50,000 came from first-time donors to Santos. Only five of this year’s donors have given before, and he’s only $157 out of his $133,000 income.
The Daily Beast has attempted to contact nearly all of these donors. Nearly every number associated with these donors included an automated voice message. A lady answered and she hung up quickly saying she didn’t speak English.
But one Santos donor told the Daily Beast why he donated to the beleaguered lawmaker. The donor will support bills proposed by Mr. Santos, specifically Guo Wengui, a self-proclaimed dissident of the Chinese Communist Party who was recently indicted on federal charges related to a $1 billion fraud scheme. pointed out the bill submitted to
Mr. Santos has been a vocal supporter of Mr. Guo in recent months, totaling 11 bills It targeted the Chinese Communist Party during Mr. Guo’s brief tenure in Congress, all of which were introduced after Mr. Guo’s arrest in March.
“He’s working in a direction that I believe will benefit the United States and the world,” the donor told the Daily Beast. “So when he asked me to participate, I did.”
“He’s a man of few words and I stand by him,” the donor texted. “He did what he promised. He said he would put forward the #FreeMilesGuo bill, and he did it.” “I’ve been disappointed every time,” he said.
“You can find the information you need on GETTR,” the donor added.
a search GETTR’s “George Santos” returned top results that were almost entirely related to Guo’s endorsement.Santos pinned post His own GETTR profile has a link to the online WinRed donation page. It has over 600 likes and has been shared over 320 times.
When the Daily Beast reached out to Santos about donating, he said: [sic] You can safely assume that a similar amount of fundraising has taken place. “
“That’s all my comment for you,” Santos wrote in another text message. “Please do your best to write a hit.”
Santos declined to answer additional questions about when a fundraiser for this purpose took place or how donors from around the country would have gathered.
Brendan Fisher, a campaign finance expert at Documented, told The Daily Beast that the clustered names and dates certainly suggest a drive for organized fundraising.
“Certainly there seems to have been some sort of organized fundraising for Santos among the Chinese-American community,” Fisher said. He observed that most of the money was spent paying off Santos’ personal loans.
Many of these donors have marked their profession as “retired”. Others, however, cited occupations that are not characteristic of major donors.
Harmon Curran campaign finance expert Brett Kappel said the fact pattern could set off a “red flag” for prosecutors to look into Santos’ financial statements.
Kappel told the Daily Beast, “This filing will set red flags for lawyers working on the Santos investigation in the Eastern District of New York City,” adding that many donors “reported.” It added that it was citing occupations that appear to be inconsistent with the scale of donations being made. Part-time cashiers, housewives, multiple college students, etc.
“It’s unusual for a student to make a reportable contribution, let alone the maximum contribution allowed,” he said.
In May, federal prosecutors indicted Mr. Santos on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making material misrepresentations to Congress. The agency is also currently investigating Santos’ financial situation, criminal record and past statements.
The expenses are also very different.
Santos, whose wastefulness sparked an FEC lawsuit for using campaign funds for unjustified personal spending, appears to have backed down. The commission reported spending of about $104,000 over the past three months, most of which was an $85,000 payment to Santos himself, part of a $215,000 personal loan from last September. I had to pay back the part. This is the first such repayment for him in several years.
The remaining costs were divided into relatively small amounts. About $2,300 was donated June 16 to Dallas-based Cobra Legal Solutions for legal work. However, according to a 2022 report, Cobra is a “leading legal services outsourcing provider.” press release– had rebranded For legal purposes, one month prior to such payment.
The campaign also donated $3,500 to new treasurer Jason Boles. Jason Boles is a political accountant and maintains the books of an accounting firm. Over 50 active committees, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Republican, Georgia). The commission spent $375 on Internet services, and another $1,527.31 was reported as “reimbursement” to a man named Mateus Ting of New York City address. The FEC database does not show any previous record of Santos’ receipts or expenses related to Tin.
A small number of payments to United Airlines and The Line Hotel in Washington, D.C. were backdated to February. It is not clear why they did not appear in the campaign’s previous report. According to federal rules, about half of the spending was paid when the campaign’s treasurer was absent for 10 days or more and couldn’t legally raise or spend the money.
Another mystery about Santos is made even more mysterious by the fact that he personally financed the campaign.
The amounts, dates and sources of funding of these loans are inconsistent throughout the year. The filing shows they’ve changed again, with $185,000 of previously reported loans appearing to have disappeared entirely.
A campaign report at the end of 2022 found that the self-proclaimed billionaire had loaned the campaign a total of $755,000 in the 2022 cycle. In April, the campaign lowered the total to $715,000 without any explanation. Currently, his total personal loan amount is only $530,000.
The date is also different. Where previously the loans were spread out over the 2022 calendar year, they are now concentrated in the two months leading up to the November election. It’s unclear how this can be reconciled with his earlier 2022 report showing how much campaign money remained in banks after loans.
This total could be a result of Santos’ acquisition of an experienced treasurer. Before Boles took office last month, the campaign listed a treasurer named “Andrew Olson,” who has never run a federal commission and does not appear to even exist. FEC Complaint From the Good Government Group in Washington, Responsible and Ethical Citizens.
“If this professional accountant stepped into the books, they might have finally gotten this right,” Fisher said. “But as with the Santos problem, it’s hard to know what’s going on.”
Ursula Perano, Tracy Connor, and Matt Fuller contributed to this report.