Embattled Representative George Santos appears to have been left without a campaign treasurer as a disclosure filing deadline approaches amid allegations surrounding his usage of campaign cash.
On Wednesday, the federal election commission was notified of a new treasurer for multiple fundraising committees affiliated with the incoming New York congressman.
Holy shit. An online post has been unearthed showing George Santos saluting Hitler and apparently joking about “kill… the jews and black mostly.” A former friend says he would make offensive jokes about Jewish people while falsely claiming to be Jewish. https://t.co/2zc8kl0f2j
— No Lie with Brian Tyler Cohen (@NoLieWithBTC) January 26, 2023
The newly stated treasurer, Thomas Datwyler, claims he has nothing to do with the Santos campaign and that the files were signed in his name without his permission, despite the fact that he is a seasoned campaign finance treasurer who has worked on numerous other political organizations.
“On Monday, we informed the Santos campaign that Mr. Datwyler would not be serving as treasurer,” Datwyler’s attorney Derek Ross told ABC News. “It appears that there’s been a disconnect between that conversation and the filings today, which we did not authorize.”
Someone with access to the committees’ accounts would have had to file the amendments naming Datwyler as the new treasurer, according to Adav Noti, senior vice president and legal director of the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center and a former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission.
“This is a very, very strange situation because those amendments that were filed today are electronically signed, or at least they say they’re electronically signed by the new treasurer,” Noti said. “I don’t really understand how this could have happened.”
“It’s completely illegal to sign somebody else’s name on a federal filing without their consent. That is a big, big no-no,” Noti said.
ABC News was told by a person with knowledge of the situation that Datwyler and his legal team are currently waiting for direction from the FEC.
Former treasurer listed for Santos’ campaign committee and related committees, Nancy Marks of Campaigns Unlimited, did not reply to ABC News’ requests for comment.
A number of modifications to the Santos campaign’s earlier quarterly filings on fundraising and spending were filed on Tuesday, which may or may not has prompted the committees’ unexpected change of treasurer.
The campaign disclosed certain revisions in its updated papers on Tuesday, including a possible indication that at least $625,000 in campaign loans that Santos had previously described as self-funded might not be coming from his “personal finances.”
The loans are still listed under George Anthony Devolder Santos’s name, but the updated papers don’t say where the money came from, which is against federal campaign financing laws.
There have been other concerns raised about the Santos campaign’s fundraising and spending, such as donors who appear to have given more than the federal contribution limit and dozens of expenditures of $199.99 each, just under the $200 threshold that requires a receipt when reporting campaign expenses to the FEC.
“I’m not at all surprised that they’re changing treasurers given that the campaign has legal exposure and Nancy Marks has legal exposure, and they’re presumably all lawyering up,” Noti said. “It would be very difficult for them to maintain a business relationship while they’re all being investigated in a potentially adverse position.”
A lack of a treasurer for the Santos campaign, according to experts, puts the troubled congressman in a precarious position as the end of January approaches and year-end campaign files are due.
“It’s not uncommon for treasurers to quit or leave for various reasons, and that doesn’t absolve the campaign of its filing responsibility,” Noti said. “So even if they continue to have a fight over who the treasurer is and it’s not resolved by the year-end filing deadline, the FEC does not give excuses.”