CLC Statement on Congressman George Santos’s Court Appearance and Plea
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman George Santos of New York pleaded not guilty to a 23-count, superseding federal indictment charging him with conspiracy, wire fraud, and submitting false statements and records to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), among a litany of alleged crimes stemming from his 2022 congressional campaign. Saurav Ghosh, Director of Federal Campaign Finance Reform at Campaign Legal Center, issued the following statement:
“Voters have a right to know how candidates are raising and spending campaign money in pursuit of public office, and enforcement of federal campaign finance laws is essential to ensuring a transparent, fair, and representative democracy. CLC filed a complaint with the FEC in January against Congressman Santos, and referred that complaint to the Department of Justice, because it appeared that his campaign had blatantly and deliberately violated these laws.
The latest criminal charges against Congressman Santos indicate that while seeking to represent the public in a position of trust, the Congressman engaged in widespread fraud and theft, and sought to cover up these crimes by lying on official documents filed with the FEC. It is very encouraging that federal law enforcement agencies have pursued this case expeditiously, demonstrating a real commitment to upholding the values of transparency and accountability that are crucial to our elections. Candidates have a duty to obey the laws so that voters, their potential constituents, and the broader public can meaningfully participate in our nation’s political process.”
On January 9, 2023, Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) alleging that recently elected Rep. George Santos, his 2022 campaign committee, Devolder-Santos for Congress, and treasurer Nancy Marks violated federal campaign finance laws. The following day, CLC referred the complaint to the Department of Justice.
CLC’s complaint alleged, among other things, that Santos’s campaign falsely reported $705,000 in “personal loans” from Santos, and the information underlying Marks’s guilty plea appears to support that allegation: Prosecutors in Marks’s case have reportedly indicated that Marks and Santos conspired to fabricate $500,000 in loans made to the campaign in order to meet fundraising benchmarks. The superseding indictment against Rep. Santos includes new charges related to these false loans.