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Rep.-elect Santos faces more scrutiny on finances, perceived right-wing actions

One of Santos’ staff members told News 12 they are working to open the office sometime soon and plans to make an announcement in the next few days.

News 12 Staff

Jan 6, 2023, 10:31 PM

Updated 528 days ago

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Rep.-elect George Santos is facing more controversy as he continues to vote for the speaker of the House in Washington D.C.
Former Rep. Tom Suozzi’s office in Douglaston is expected to be taken over by Santos, but it is still locked.
A telephone number is not listed at the location, and the number for Santos’ Washington office goes straight to voicemail.
One of Santos’ staff members told News 12 they are working to open the office sometime soon and plans to make an announcement in the next few days.
Vish Burra, a past aid to political strategist Steve Bannon, is also reportedly joining Team Santos as an operations director.
Political watchers say this could signal a strong conservative stand for Santos.
“He has the hard-right Trump MAGA-type credentials and this might be right in line with what George Santos thinks he needs,” said Mike Dawidziak.
Burra is also the executive secretary of the New York Young Republican Club.
Santos’ representatives would not confirm Burra’s involvement with the congressman-elect to News 12.
While casting his vote for speaker, Santos was seen making an “OK” gesture with his left hand.
The gesture is commonly used by the far right and white supremacists to mean “white power.”
“I’m not surprised that George Santos, in an attempt to be accepted, to reflect the worst elements of our society would flash a sign like that,” said Laura Harding of Erase Racism.
The Federal Election Commission is also taking a closer look into Santos’ finances.
The agency sent a letter to his campaign earlier this week saying, “Your report disclosed contributions from individuals for which the identification is not complete.”
The letter also lists three donors whose contributions appear to exceed the $2,900 limit.
Aaron Foldenauer, an election and campaign finance attorney, says Santos’ spending report has a lot of red flags, including 37 transactions for exactly $199.99 – one penny under the $200 threshold to provide a receipt.
“These are transactions at places like restaurants, Uber and otherwise,” Foldenauer said. “It’s highly unusual, you don’t see that often.”
News 12 also learned that political action committees connected to Santos donated around $185,000 to the Nassau and Hempstead Town GOP.
A spokesperson says nearly $130,000 would be returned to the PACs.
The rest was spent by the Santos campaign.
Santos, who has admitted embellishing his past record, has not addressed the latest controversy over his sister’s Queens apartment or his financial records.
Santos will be sworn into office once a speaker of the House has been elected.
Republican leaders continued to distance themselves from Santos with Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joe Cairo issuing a statement saying Santos would not be welcome at any of their meetings or events.
The statement said, “George Santos has violated the trust o voters in the 3rd Congressional District, and he has disgraced the House of Representatives. What’s more, Mr. Santos has deceived the Republican party with a profusion of lies, fabrications and hurtful comments, which have ensured that he has no place in the Nassau County Republican Committee. He is not welcome at our functions or our meetings. If he attempts to attend, he will be asked to leave. Further, he has no support within the party, and he will never have the endorsement of the Nassau County Republican Committee for any elective office.”
News 12 reached out to Santos’ office for comment but has not heard back.
A protest is scheduled for Saturday outside Santos’ future district office.


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