A Republican technology firm says it is asking Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., to correct yet another apparent error on his campaign spending records.
Santos reported paying WinRed more than $206,000 to process donations to his 2022 campaign, records show. But that amount doesn’t match up with how much money Santos actually raised.
A Republican fundraising platform, WinRed charges candidates a 3.94% fee for contributions made online by credit card. At that rate, Santos would have had to have raised more than $5.2 million through WinRed to warrant a $206,000 payment to the firm.
Through November, however, his campaign reported total contributions of $1.7 million, including donations that didn’t come through WinRed.
Following questions from NBC News, WinRed confirmed in an emailed statement that “it proactively reached out to the campaign to ensure its agency fees were being reported accurately. The fees attributed to WinRed should be 3.94%, as stated on its public pricing page.”
WinRed would not confirm how much the Santos campaign has paid the company in fees. A spokesperson and a lawyer for Santos did not respond to requests for comment.
The WinRed discrepancies could be attributed to sloppy accounting. The “agency fees” the firm noted in its statement refer to a service that allows campaigns that have contracted outside fundraising vendors to pay those vendors through WinRed. But the firm’s policy explicitly states: “These fees are not WinRed fees and should not be reported as such when filing.”
Controversy has surrounded Santos since his election last year, following persistent reports that he fabricated much of his résumé and personal history. Santos has acknowledged some of the fabrications and has vowed to offer more fulsome explanations, but he has yet to do so.
Santos’ campaign finances also have drawn scrutiny. This week, his campaign revised a 2022 filing with the Federal Election Commission by specifying that a $500,000 loan he made to the campaign didn’t come from his personal funds. A series of expenses between $199 and $199.99 — just below a threshold for keeping receipts — has prompted questions as well.
Brett Kappel, a lawyer who specializes in campaign finance issues and has worked with Democrats and Republicans, said Santos’ FEC reports appear to have been prepared “with the treasurer having access to little, if any, supporting documentation.” The WinRed items, Kappel added, “might merely be “another example of the campaign’s poor accounting practices.”
This week, Santos’ campaign filed paperwork indicating it had hired a new treasurer, Tom Datwyler, but an attorney for Datwyler told NBC News that his client never agreed to accept the position and has no intention of working for the campaign.
“At this point,” Kappel said, “nothing that appears on Rep. Santos’s FEC reports can be taken at face value.”