SAY WHAT? - In November, George Santos became the first openly gay Republican elected to Congress. His election helped the GOP secure a slim majority in the House. But a New York Times investigation has found that the representative-elect may have misrepresented many key elements of his biography and resume during his campaign.
Santos claims to have graduated from Baruch College in 2010, but the New York school could find no records of Santos attending. Santos’s biography on the National Republican Congressional Committee includes mention of his having attended New York University. NYU could find no record of his attending either.
Santos has also claimed to have worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs after graduating. Neither Wall Street firm had any record of his working there.
Friends of Pets, a charity that Santos claims to have founded in 2013, also appears to be bogus. The IRS found no records that the organization held tax-exempt status, and neither the New York nor New Jersey attorney general’s offices found records of the organization being registered as a charity, according to the Times. The intended beneficiary of a 2017 fundraiser thrown by Santos says they never received any funds from the event.
Harbor City Capital, a Florida-based investment company where Santos was regional director during his unsuccessful 2020 campaign for Congress, was accused by the S.E.C. of running a $17 million Ponzi Scheme. According to the Times, Santos was not named in the S.E.C.’s lawsuit against the company, and he has denied knowledge of the scheme.
The Times also found that Santos has twice been evicted for nonpayment of rent, once in 2015 and again in 2017. Santos himself has claimed that he and his family own 13 rental properties, but only one apartment in Rio de Janeiro is listed on his financial disclosure forms, and property records in New York City and Nassau County show no document or deeds associated with him, his family, or his “family firm,” the Devolder Organization.
Despite having reported $750,000 in salary and over $1 million in dividends from the company, Santo listed no Devolder Organization clients in his congressional financial disclosure.
“This report raises red flags because no clients are reported for a multimillion-dollar client services company,” Kedric Payne, the vice president of the watchdog Campaign Legal Center, and a former deputy chief counsel for the Office of Congressional Ethics told the Times. “The congressman-elect should explain what’s going on.”
The Times also revealed that in 2008, Santos stole a checkbook from a man his mother was caring for while she was working as a nurse in Brazil. He later confessed to using the checkbook to purchase shoes and was charged with the crime. Brazilian prosecutors say the case remains unresolved, as Santos never responded to an official court summons.
In a November interview, Santos also claimed that his company had lost four employees in the June 2016 mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. The Times found no evidence of any of the 49 victims of that tragedy ever having worked at any of Santos’s companies.
During his most recent successful campaign, Santos said that abortion is as barbaric as slavery and has voiced support for Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law. He had previously supported Donald Trump, echoing the former [resident’s lies about the 2020 election in subsequently deleted social media posts.
He attended the January 6th “Stop the Steal” rally that led to the storming of the U.S. Capitol and was recently caught on video saying he wrote a “nice check” to help cover the legal fees of some of the rioters. Earlier this month, he attended a Manhattan gala alongside white nationalists and far-right conspiracy theorists.
(John Russell is a writer for LGBTQNation.com where this was first featured.)