Jan 27, 2023
Federal Election Commission Asks Santos Campaign, ‘Who’s the Boss?’
(Bloomberg) -- The Federal Election Commission is asking a man who says he’s not responsible for handling Representative George Santos’s campaign funds why the agency has received paperwork saying otherwise.
On Wednesday, Santos’s campaign, leadership political action committee and joint fundraising committees filed documents with the FEC listing Thomas Datwyler, a Wisconsin-based compliance professional, as their new treasurer. But Datwyler had turned down the job, according to a report the same day in Mother Jones, citing Datwyler’s attorney.
The FEC’s letters, dated Thursday and all addressed to Datwyler, ask for a response by March 2.
It’s the latest controversy for the New York Republican, who’s being investigated by federal and local prosecutors and faces complaints with the House Ethics Committee and the Federal Election Commission over disclosures he filed detailing his personal wealth and loans he made to his campaign.
On Friday night, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department has asked the FEC to hold off on “any enforcement action” and to hand over any “relevant documents.” The newspaper, which cited anonymous sources, said this indicated that US prosecutors were looking at Santos’s campaign finance operation.
Santos’ office did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment on the Post report. The Justice Department and the FEC also did not immediately respond to requests for comment made on Friday night.
The congressman has acknowledged inventing significant details about his religion, education and career, including that he graduated from college and worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. He has also previously suggested that he was Jewish.
Under federal law, campaigns can’t accept donations or make expenditures if they don’t have a treasurer. Individuals who serve in that capacity have a range of responsibilities, including certifying that filings are true, accurate and complete to the best of their knowledge. Treasurers are subject to enforcement actions, and can be fined or imprisoned for misleading the FEC.
Santos’s office and an attorney representing him didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An attorney representing Datwyler didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
--With assistance from Chris Strohm.
(Updates with Washington Post report, starting in fifth paragraph.)
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