AP

Rep. George Santos repays himself $85K raised from lackluster reelection fundraising

Jul 15, 2023, 6:23 PM

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters outside the Capitol, as his top political ai...

FILE - Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., speaks to reporters outside the Capitol, as his top political aide Vish Burra, second from right, listens, after an effort to expel Santos from the House, in Washington, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. A man who briefly worked as an aide to Santos told House investigators Wednesday, May 31, that he got his job after sending a series of payments to Burra, Santos' director of operations. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Embattled freshman U.S. Rep. George Santos, a Republican from New York charged with a host of financial crimes, including embezzling money from his campaign, withdrew $85,000 from his campaign to help repay hundreds of thousands of dollars he loaned himself to get elected in 2022.

Congressional campaign records released Friday show Santos raised a relatively paltry $138,000 during the last three months for a reelection bid that is expected to be one of the country’s most-watched and hotly contested races in 2024.

The records show he spent nearly $118,000, the bulk of it to begin repaying the more than $700,000 he loaned himself for his successful but surprising victory last year.

The underwhelming fundraising suggests potential struggles in fending off a challenge from fellow Republican Kellen Curry, an Afghanistan war veteran and former J.P. Morgan banker, who raised more than $200,000 and spent $36,000 during the same period.

George Santos names himself treasurer of his campaign committee

Meanwhile, the top Democrat vying for New York’s Third Congressional District, Nassau County legislator Joshua Lafazan, has raised more than $345,000, with much of it still in the bank.

Santos pleaded not guilty in May to a 13-count federal indictment charging him with looting his campaign coffers, fraudulently receiving unemployment and lying to Congress about being a millionaire. He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

A day later, he signed an agreement with Brazilian officials that allowed him to avoid prosecution for forging two stolen checks in 2008.

Despite his legal woes, Santos has vowed to fight to keep his congressional seat, which mostly encompasses the western suburbs of Long Island but also straddles parts of the Queens borough in New York City.

George Santos pleads not guilty to multiple criminal charges

Complicating matters is whether congressional districts will again have to be redrawn, which could mean trouble for some Republican incumbents if congressional lines are moved to make districts more favorable to Democrats.

Santos announced his reelection bid in April, despite a steady drumbeat calling for his resignation because of his many deceptions during his last campaign, including lying about his education, Wall Street pedigree and other resume fabrications.

Serious questions about his finances also surfaced — including the source of what appears to be a quickly amassed fortune despite recent financial problems, including evictions and owing thousands in back rent.

Santos is also facing investigation by the House Committee, as well as by local authorities looking into whether he has violated any laws during his previous campaign.

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Rep. George Santos repays himself $85K raised from lackluster reelection fundraising