Monday, 26 Feb 2024

George Santos Missed the Deadline to Reveal His Finances. Now What?

The News

The filing of House financial disclosure reports each year is usually considered a routine affair. But for Representative George Santos of New York, who is facing 13 felony charges related to his finances, the matter has the potential to become yet another soap opera.

Mr. Santos, a first-term Republican, missed the Aug. 13 deadline to file his disclosures, a lapse that could lead to fines. He had already received a 90-day extension from the initial deadline, which was May 15. A spokeswoman for Mr. Santos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The House Committee on Ethics receives and reviews the disclosures, which provide the public with some of the most detailed financial information available on their representatives.

Why It Matters

There has been considerable speculation about whether Mr. Santos’s financial disclosure might shed light on the source of the more than $700,000 he lent to his campaign.

Mr. Santos has maintained that he earned the money legally through his company, the Devolder Organization, which he said acts as a paid go-between in deals involving wealthy people.

But federal prosecutors claim that Mr. Santos falsified the disclosures he filed as a House candidate in 2020 and 2022, saying that he misrepresented his income from the Devolder Organization and the amounts in his bank accounts.

They also say that he failed to report money he earned by defrauding the unemployment system, and from a Florida investment company that was shuttered after regulators accused it of operating as a Ponzi scheme.

If Mr. Santos reports further income from the Devolder Organization in his 2023 disclosure, he should also disclose the names of his clients — something he has yet to do.

Background

Financial disclosures are a common transparency measure across state and federal government. They are intended to allow the public to assess their representatives’ financial ties for potential conflicts of interest that could affect their leadership.

But the laws and guidelines surrounding House financial disclosures are relatively generous when it comes to timely filings. Representatives are allowed to request extensions well into August, when they are typically on recess and facing less scrutiny from the public.

Late fees are a relatively paltry $200 — members of Congress make $174,000 annually — and are only assessed if a report is filed more than 30 days after its due date.

Mr. Santos is not the only member of New York’s House delegation who has yet to file a form. Representative Jamaal Bowman, a Democrat representing parts of the Bronx and Westchester County, also had yet to file as of Tuesday afternoon.

Representatives Anthony D’Esposito and Brandon Williams, two first-term Republicans, missed the initial May 15 deadline and did not request extensions, though they did eventually file their disclosures.

What’s Next

Nothing is ever certain concerning Mr. Santos, especially when it comes to finances. But this is not the first time that he has filed his disclosures late. Though he began raising large sums of money in 2021 for his 2022 House campaign, Mr. Santos did not file the required disclosure until Sept. 9, 2022, shortly before he was elected in November.

In the unlikely event that Mr. Santos does not file at all, he could face a civil penalty of up to $71,316.

Mr. Santos is due back in the Capitol from August recess on Sept. 12. His next court hearing will take place before that; he is set to appear before a judge in Central Islip on Sept. 7. He has pleaded not guilty.

Lies, Charges and Questions Remaining in the George Santos Scandal

George Santos has told so many stories they can be hard to keep straight. We cataloged them, including major questions about his personal finances and his campaign fund-raising and spending.

Grace Ashford is a reporter on the Metro desk covering New York State politics and government from the Albany bureau. She previously worked on the Investigations team. More about Grace Ashford

Michael Gold is a reporter covering transit and politics in New York. More about Michael Gold

Source: Read Full Article

Related Posts