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George Santos leaves a GOP caucus meeting on Capitol Hill
George Santos leaves a GOP caucus meeting on Capitol Hill on Jan. 25, 2023. Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Federal Election Commission tells Santos: Announce re-election or 'disavow' fundraising

The FEC wants the embattled New York GOP congressman to either stop raising money or "disavow" the fundraising on his behalf.


The Federal Election Commission is issuing an ultimatum to embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos, telling him he has 35 days to declare whether his recent fundraising means he’s running for re-election or not. 

The commission made the ask in a letter that explains that it appears the Santos campaign has already met the definition of being an active candidate (accepting donations of or spending $5,000 toward a bid for office), triggering the need for him to declare as an active candidate or disavow the activity (ABC first reported the ask).

"You must either disavow these activities by notifying the Commission in writing that you are not a candidate, or redesignate your principal campaign committee," an FEC analyst writes in the letter.

It would be an easy fix for Santos, who could just file a new statement of candidacy to authorize the new fundraising — candidates regularly file official paperwork before any true announcement to allow them to get the jump on fundraising, even if they’re still deciding whether to run. In some cases, candidates end up announcing they won't run for re-election, even if they had been previously raising money for months.

But the FEC ask represents the latest bump on Santos’ path, as he continues to face criticism over embellishing his record and investigations into his past conduct. He was also recently accused of sexually harassing a prospective staffer, an allegation he disputes.