Grifters Gotta Grift
This is weird, and of course troubling. It seems that Spurious George made a lot of itemized campaign payments to anonymous (vendors?) and then later amended the statement and removed the payments:
In the spring of 2022, George Santos’s congressional campaign submitted a handful of filings to the Federal Election Commission that did something unheard of in campaign finance: The campaign reported spending a total of $254,000 — in more than 1,200 small payments — to recipients identified only as “anonymous.”
A month later, in amended reports, those listed expenditures were gone. Campaigns generally are not required to itemize payments under $200, so the removal of the “anonymous” payments reverted, in a way, to customary practice.
But their brief inclusion stunned experts, several of whom told The Washington Post that they had not seen filings for expenditures to recipients listed as “anonymous.” A review of other federal candidates’ 2022 filings by The Post found only a dozen such instances, most of which appeared to involve money returned to donors who had attempted to give anonymously. (Federal rules require campaigns to disclose the identities of their donors.)
So a lot of just-under-$200 Amero payments to, uh, anonymous persons (or, perhaps person, hmmm)?
“The entire purpose of the reporting requirements is to provide voters and the public with information about how campaigns are spending their money,” said Erin Chlopak, senior director for campaign finance at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center. “By definition, reporting ‘anonymous’ defeats the entire purpose.”
Brazilli, er, Vanilli once sang, “Girl you know it’s true” –
[Erin Chlopak, senior director for campaign finance at the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center], said she found it hard to believe that the Santos campaign made so many small payments to so many people. “The likelihood that this committee made this number of below-$200 disbursements to completely unique recipients remains a serious question that is suspect,” she said.
Santos reported paying WinRed more than $206,000 to process donations to his 2022 campaign, records show. But that amount doesn’t match up with how much money Santos actually raised.
A Republican fundraising platform, WinRed charges candidates a 3.94% fee for contributions made online by credit card. At that rate, Santos would have had to have raised more than $5.2 million through WinRed to warrant a $206,000 payment to the firm.
As Scissorhead and friend of the blog Bluegal has noted forever, WinRed is actually a for-profit company, while the Democrats ActBlue is not. The math here is startling and seems incontrovertible: there was a lot more money raised than reported. Where did it go?
It used to be the case that if you paid peanuts, you hired clowns. This is big money, and while Santos is clearly not a well person, so far he’s succeeding at a large dollar grift.
There’s no doubt that Santos is a crook, that’s not even a question. The bigger question is this: is he a one-off, or will we see more Santos-like, post truth Republican candidates in the future? What’s next?
UPDATE 1: Scissorhead M Davis sends this on –
The Tattaglia crime Family has a stronger collective morality than the Republican Party.
I would have said the Corleone Family but they were left on the high ground about five decades ago.
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I am reminded of a time years ago when I was the approver of expense reports for my team. Our thing was (this was 1990ish) any meal or expense under $25 did not require a receipt. One woman was on a week long trip and submitted 6 days worth of breakfasts and lunches, 12 meals in total. Remarkably each meal was receiptless for $24.99. Imagine that! I did ask her if she thought I was stupid and she said “it just worked out this way.”
George has expanded on this idea – considerably!
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I had a team in India who came to California for a meeting. They had a daily stipend from their home office that was not enough for a cup of coffee.
Those rules exist for a reason, I know, but they are absurd. I ended up expensing them, and boy-howdy, was that a lot of fun getting called into the corner office.
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He won by 20,420 votes, so that’s 12.44 per vote in small payments.
You know “anonymous”, like “bag-man” or “escort” or “dealer”