Speed Reads

Things that make you go hmmmmm...

Rep. George Santos may or may not have a campaign treasurer as he faces big questions about campaign loans

Rep. George Santos' (R-N.Y.) campaign does not appear to have a treasurer, despite what the George Santos campaign says. 

The Santos campaign and six affiliated political committees filed statements with the Federal Election Commission on Wednesday indicating that longtime Santos campaign treasurer Nancy Marks had been replaced with Thomas Datwyler. Datwyler, a veteran campaign treasurer, says he turned Santos down. 

"On Monday, we informed the Santos campaign that Mr. Datwyler would not be taking over as treasurer," Datwyler's lawyer, Derek Ross, said in a statement. "And there appears to be some disconnect between that conversation and this filing." A lawyer for Santos, Joe Murray, told The New York Times he has "no response to any of that." Marks, who faces possible legal consequences from mysterious loans and expenditures in Santos' campaign filings, appears to be in hiding, as CBS News reports. 

The Santos campaign filed amended campaign finance reports Tuesday that raised new questions about $705,000 that Santos had reported as personal loans to his congressional campaign. In some of the six amended filings, his campaign unchecked boxes that had previously claimed $500,000 and $125,000 infusions were from "personal funds of the candidate." If the money didn't come from Santos or a bank, that's a big problem for Santos

On the other hand, the boxes were still checked on the other amended filings. "I have never been this confused looking at an FEC filing," Jordan Libowitz, a spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), told the Times. "This could be a mistake. Someone could have just forgotten to check a box," Daniel Weiner, a former FEC senior counsel now at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Wall Street Journal, though it would be a "pretty extraordinary mistake" under the circumstances

Santos on Wednesday appeared to blame his treasurer for the confusion. "I don't amend anything, I don't touch any of my FEC stuff, right?" he told CNN. "So don't be disingenuous and report that I did because you know that every campaign hires fiduciaries."

But even if there's a legal explanation for the $705,000 in campaign loans, Santos has to explain what's going on with his treasurer, said Adav Noti at the Campaign Legal Center, which filed an FEC complaint about about Santos' campaign finances earlier this month. Wednesday's amended filings "are electronically signed, or at least they say they're electronically signed by the new treasurer," Noti told ABC News. "It's completely illegal to sign somebody else's name on a federal filing without their consent. That is a big, big no-no."