Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., made a significant revision to his 2022 campaign filings Tuesday by specifying that a $500,000 loan he made to the campaign didn't come from his personal funds.
The initial filing in September included a checked box saying the hefty loan came from the "personal funds of the candidate." In the new filing, which was first reported by the Daily Beast, that box is unchecked.
The amended filing, however, provides no new information about the source of the funds — it says only that the loan came from the candidate but wasn't his personal money.
"We have a number of seasoned lawyers in the office and in our community and everyone is pretty much collectively scratching their heads," Robert Maguire, the research director for the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said of the filings.
About $150,000 in loans is still marked as having come from his personal funds in the filings. A separate filing shows a new $125,000 loan that came from Santos in October but was not from his personal funds.
In an interview last month with WABC radio, Santos said the loans were money "I paid myself" through the Devolder Organization, his company.
When he first ran for Congress in 2020, Santos said on a campaign finance form that he was making $55,000 a year. Last year's campaign filings indicated that he made millions of dollars in 2021. He told the news site Semafor last month that he made his money legitimately through his company’s “capital introduction” business.
Maguire said if the money came from Santos' company, the company should have been listed as the source of the loan. If it was from a bank loan, the bank should have been listed. "Basically any way you slice it, it looks like a reporting error or a kind of too-cute-by-half way of reporting the fact it was Devolder’s without explaining it" to the Federal Election Commission, he added.
A spokesperson for Santos’ congressional office said it does "not comment on campaign or personal matters."
Law enforcement sources said last month that federal prosecutors in Brooklyn had opened an investigation into Santos and were examining his finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and the loans he made to his campaign.
Santos has come under scrutiny after a bombshell New York Times investigation published last month showed much of his résumé appeared to have been manufactured, including claims that he owned numerous properties, was previously employed by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and had attended and graduated from Baruch College.
Santos has acknowledged some of the fabrications while also trying to downplay them. He told the New York Post last month: “My sins here are embellishing my résumé. I’m sorry.”
While some fellow Republicans have demanded that he resign, the GOP Steering Committee, which is led by Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, voted to give him two committee posts this month — one on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, the other on the Small Business Committee.