A recent New York Times investigation indicated that recently elected Republican Rep. George Santos (NY) may have lied about his resume and other purportedly unflattering facts about his past.
Santos became the first openly homosexual Republican to win a U.S. House seat in a non-incumbent race during the most recent midterm elections by winning in the Democratic-controlled Long Island.
The politician, who happens to be a "seasoned" Wall Street financier and investor with "a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats," according to the Times, described himself as the "full embodiment of the American dream" while running for office. He cited his roots as Brazilian immigrants before ascending to the top of the economic food chain.
Santos claimed in his campaign biography that he attended Baruch College, as well as working for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, and cited his charity work with the animal rescue organization Friends of Pets United as an example.
These assertions by the 34-year-old Santos were called into question by the Times' inquiry because neither Citigroup nor Goldman Sachs could find any evidence of his employment there. According to Baruch College representatives, Santos did not graduate from the institution in 2010, as he had previously stated. Additionally, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stated that it was unable to find any records of any charities with such names.
According to the report, the congressman-private elect's finances also raised some questions:
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.
And while Mr. Santos has described a family fortune in real estate, he has not disclosed, nor could The Times could find, records of his properties.
According to the Times research, Santos is also purportedly facing unresolved criminal check fraud allegations in Brazil. He allegedly took a checkbook from a man whom his mother, a nurse, had been taking care of when he was 19 and used it to make a number of fraudulent payments. Two years later, he allegedly confessed to the crime and was put on trial. Given that Santos allegedly ignored a formal court summons, Brazilian authorities told the Times that the case is still open.
Santos also asserts in a biography posted on the National Republican Congressional Committee website that he attended New York University for a brief period of time, but N.Y.U. officials claimed they were unable to confirm this. He also claimed to WNYC that four of his employees perished in the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting at Pulse, but the Times was unable to identify even one fatality who had worked for one of his stated companies.
Friends of Pets United does seem to have a history on social media, including a 2017 event where attendees had to pay $50, although the IRS was unable to locate any proof of the charity he founded. However, the unnamed recipient of that event claimed they never received the money and that Santos frequently provided justifications when questioned.
Santos worked in business development at a company called LinkBridge Investors in 2019, which gave the impression that his situation had changed before he made his first run for the U.S. House. He finally rose to the position of vice president there before spending the following two years in a number of unsuccessful endeavors.
Santos may have broken the law regarding ethics, according to the New York Times report, because of the way he disclosed his finances during the last election. Santos tweeted a rebuttal to the article from his lawyer Joe Murray, calling it an attempt to "smear his good name" with false accusations. It also claimed a false Winston Churchill quotation, "You have enemies? Good. It indicates that at some point in your life, you fought for something. French author Victor Hugo is credited with coining the phrase.