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Morning Spew

Long Islanders Just Elected Some Guy to Congress

There’s embellishment and then there’s George Santos, and other links to start your day

10:08 AM EST on December 19, 2022

Argentina mural in Elmhurst, Queens. (David Brand)

After an eight-point victory in a swing district, Representative-elect George Santos is set to represent deep suburban Queens and parts of Nassau County. He's a landlord, a successful businessman, runs an animal rescue, and is a graduate of a local college. 

But a New York Times investigation now reveals that Santos does not appear to be any of those things. In a report that's as much of an indictment of the tacitly fallen state of local journalism as it is one of a moribund and ineffective New York State Democratic Party, the Times found that Santos lied about owning homes, working at multiple big-name investment firms, and even his college education. Owing to how thoroughly the report debunks several key elements of Santos's life story, it's unclear just what parts of Santos's biography remain credible. 

These revelations could have played a role in a race that ultimately helped tilt the House of Representatives to Republican control, but Democrats all but conceded the field to Santos in the months leading up to election day. Then-Rep. Tom Suozzi chose to mount an ill-fated run for governor, and DNC functionary Robert Zimmerman couldn't hold off Santos—again, despite the fact that he had seemingly lied about every facet of his life. 

More, from the Times

Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, the marquee Wall Street firms on Mr. Santos’s campaign biography, told The Times they had no record of his ever working there. Officials at Baruch College, which Mr. Santos has said he graduated from in 2010, could find no record of anyone matching his name and date of birth graduating that year.

There was also little evidence that his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, was, as Mr. Santos claimed, a tax-exempt organization: The Internal Revenue Service could locate no record of a registered charity with that name.

...

And while Mr. Santos has described a family fortune in real estate, he has not disclosed, nor could The Times find, records of his properties.

And then there's the matter of his rather murky finances. Again, from the Times:

His financial disclosure forms suggest a life of some wealth. He lent his campaign more than $700,000 during the midterm election, has donated thousands of dollars to other candidates in the last two years and reported a $750,000 salary and over $1 million in dividends from his company, the Devolder Organization.

Yet the firm, which has no public website or LinkedIn page, is something of a mystery. On a campaign website, Mr. Santos once described Devolder as his "family's firm" that managed $80 million in assets. On his congressional financial disclosure, he described it as a capital introduction consulting company, a type of boutique firm that serves as a liaison between investment funds and deep-pocketed investors. But Mr. Santos’s disclosures did not reveal any clients, an omission three election law experts said could be problematic if such clients exist.

So what happened? While it's important to note the abject failure of both the Democrats and the lack of a local reporting infrastructure that would dig just a little into the biography of a major candidate, there's also the question of just who gave Santos all this money! 

Santos isn't talking, Dems seem too embarrassed by it all to push, and we're left with someone representing Queens and Nassau County who appears to be a total fraud. It's possible Santos could be hit with criminal penalties regarding campaign finance, or a possible congressional investigation, although with Santos helping Republicans win the House, those scenarios appear unlikely.  

Santos, for his part, has spent his time since winning office partying with rich white nationalists. That might be a hint for where that money came from. 

Some links to start your "last real Monday of the year": 

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