Search This Blog

Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Santos: Ethics Committee and the Full Vulnerability Study

 Our most recent book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections.

From the House Committee on Ethics:

On November 14, 2023, the Committee unanimously voted to adopt the Report of the Investigative Subcommittee (ISC), which is enclosed as Appendix A.  The Committee also unanimously voted, pursuant to Committee Rule 28, to refer to the Department of Justice (DOJ) substantial evidence that Representative Santos: knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House.    Amid a deferral request from DOJ and Representative Santos’ obfuscation and delay, the ISC expeditiously compiled a voluminous record consisting of over 170,000 pages of documents and testimony from dozens of witnesses, including financial statements, contemporaneous communications, and other materials.  That record demonstrated the breadth of Representative Santos’ misconduct.  As discussed in the ISC’s Report: 

  • Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.    
  • He blatantly stole from his campaign.   
  • He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit.    
  • He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign – and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported “repayments” of those fictitious loans.  
  • He used his connections to high value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings.  
  • And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience.
 Despite his protestations, many of the public revelations following Representative Santos’ election could not have surprised him.  Members of his own campaign team presented him with a 141-page Vulnerability Report on December 1, 2021, which raised a number of issues regarding his background as well as his personal and campaign disclosures including, among other things:   

  • No evidence to support Representative Santos’ claims to have graduated with an MBA from New York University and Bachelor of Economics and Finance from Baruch College;  
  • Questions regarding how he loaned his 2020 campaign over $80,000 when his personal financial disclosure did not show any assets and only a $55,000 salary; 
  • Questions regarding his claims to have an extensive background in money management and growth, but no reported personal investments or assets; 
  • Questions regarding his failure to report salary from Harbor City Capital Management (which was under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)); and 
  • His failure to file a 2021 FD Statement.2

As a result of the report, Representative Santos was encouraged by his campaign staff to drop out of the race and, when he refused, three staffers quit his campaign altogether.22  This was a key moment wherein Representative Santos could have put an end to all the lies he told, or at a minimum, taken steps to correct the record about his background and personal and campaign finances.  Instead, he downplayed the significance of the report, telling new staff who were brought on to replace those who had left, and those who stayed, that the report was inaccurate.23  Following the turnover in his campaign staff, he continued to lie about his background,24 and found more ways to defraud his campaign supporters.