Rep. George Santos (R-NY) used campaign funds to pay for cosmetic treatments, luxury goods, vacations, and OnlyFans subscriptions according to the House Ethics Committee’s report released Thursday.
Following a months-long investigation of Santos’s 2022 campaign to represent New York’s Third Congressional District, the committee concluded that the out congressman had engaged in “knowing and willful violations” of the rules around House financial disclosure statements and “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission.”
George Santos won’t seek reelection after the House Ethics Committee concludes that he usurped funds
He blamed the media and called the House Ethics Committee’s report a “grave miscarriage of justice.”
The bipartisan committee also found “substantial evidence” that Santos used campaign funds for his personal expenses and “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
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Those personal expenses included lavish vacations to Atlantic City, the Hamptons, and Las Vegas.
According to the report, Santos spent $2,281.52 in campaign funds at resorts in Atlantic City in July 2022, during which time it could find no evidence of any campaign events in Atlantic City. Another $3,332.81 spent on an Airbnb the same month corresponded to a note on the campaign’s calendar indicating that Santos was “off at [the] Hampton’s [sic] for the weekend.” The committee also identified “additional taxi and hotel charges on the campaign credit card that were incurred in Las Vegas in December 2021, during a time when Representative Santos had told his campaign staff that he was on his honeymoon and there were no corresponding campaign events on his calendar.”
Santos also spent thousands of dollars in campaign funds at spas, according to the report. Two such charges on the campaign’s debit card were noted on expense spreadsheets as “Botox.” Another PayPal payment of $1,029.30 was made to an esthetician at a spa in Rhinebeck, New York.
The committee’s report also details how Santos moved $50,000 in campaign contributions from two donors to his personal checking account. He then made payments on personal credit card bills, made a $4,127.80 purchase at Hermès, and smaller purchases at Sephora and on OnlyFans, a subscription platform associated with adult content. (Earlier this year, Santos claimed to have only just learned about the platform, despite having joked about Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) having an OnlyFans page in early 2020.) According to the report, there was no evidence that donors’ contributions were used to support Santos’s candidacy.
While the committee did not recommend any formal punishment, it said that Santos deserved “public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.” Time reports that the committee is referring the matter to the Justice Department for further investigation.
Following the release of the report Thursday, Santos announced that he would not be running for reelection next year. In a long post on X, he described the report as “a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk.”
Somewhat tellingly, he also noted that “Public service life was never a goal or a dream, but I stepped up to the occasion when I felt my country needed it most.”
Santos still faces a total of 23 federal charges of fraud and financial crimes related to his 2022 campaign. Last month, he pleaded not guilty to all charges, and a trial date has been set for September 2024.