Skip to main content

George Santos Corruption Update: Top Donors Do Not Appear To Exist

Is George Santos even real?

George Santos looks askance.

Do you remember how Dan Quayle tanked his entire political career by spelling potato wrong, and now we can’t even keep track of what scandal number this is for George Santos, and he’s been a sworn-in member of Congress for less than a month? America, what a great country!

So the latest entry into the “George Santos is unfit for office” saga comes courtesy of Mother Jones who decided to look into Santos’ list of donors for his 2020 Congressional campaign. Turns out, some of them don’t appear to exist. Per the article:

Santos’ 2020 campaign finance reports also list a donor named Stephen Berger as a $2,500 donor and said he was a retiree who lived on Brandt Road in Brawley, California. But a spokesperson for William Brandt, a prominent rancher and Republican donor, tells Mother Jones that Brandt has lived at that address for at least 20 years and “neither he or his wife (the only other occupant [at the Brandt Road home]) have made any donations to George Santos. He does not know Stephen Berger nor has Stephen Berger ever lived at…Brandt Road.”

So, if you’re wondering if it’s illegal to give false information, or donate under someone else’s name, under campaign finance laws, let me avail you of any notions otherwise. Yes, it is very very very illegal. According to Mother Jones, almost nine percent of his 2020 campaign contributions are questionable:

These questionable donations, which account for more than $30,000 of the $338,000 the Santos campaign raised from individual donors in 2020, have not been previously cited in media reports. Mother Jones identified them by contacting (or trying to contact) dozens of the most generous donors to Santos’ 2020 campaign, which he ended up losing by 12 points. 

The stupidity here is bone-deep, friends, because not only are the suspect donations a fair share of the overall contributions to the campaign, they’re easily traceable. See, a large portion of them were done via Win Red, and through credit/debit cards.

The donations came to the Santos campaign through WinRed, an internet-based service many GOP candidates use to receive contributions. A GOP operative familiar with WinRed confirmed that a person must list his or her name and occupation when donating through the site to comply with federal election laws, but the credit card he or she uses does not have to match that name. 

This just gets dumber and griftier, as Mother Jones reached out to donors during their investigation. One of whom did donate something to the campaign, but did not, as records indicated, max out their individual contribution.

The initial small dollar donation that he made on WinRed accurately listed his employment information. The $2,800 WinRed contribution made months later listed a different place of work for him: an aborted hand sanitizer venture that only he and Santos had worked on together.

This is some weird scam, and I can’t wait until the Feds drop the hammer here and let us know what exactly is going on, because friends, it does appear the Feds are on to this one, per the same article:

[…] the Justice Department asked the FEC to hold off on any enforcement action against Santos, according to the Washington Post—a sign the feds are proceeding with their investigation of Santos.

The article points out that once an investigation is launched, the investigators get access to the actual credit card data of the donors, allowing them to see who the contributors actually were. Reminder, it’s illegal to donate in someone else’s name, so whoever was doing this is on the hook for whatever comes next, too. All I can say is, thank goodness we’re not dealing with actual criminal masterminds, here. This is the dumbest house of cards I’ve seen in quite some time. Imagine if anyone had some actual criminal skill. Who knows if he would have been caught! Now, it’s an embarrassment of riches as to what takes George Santos down first. Your move, DOJ.

(featured image: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

Filed Under:

Follow The Mary Sue: