Where Things Stand: The George Santos Edition

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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 07: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) arrives for the weekly House Republican conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on November 07, 2023 in Washington, DC. Republican members of Con... WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 07: Rep. George Santos (R-NY) arrives for the weekly House Republican conference meeting in the basement of the U.S. Capitol on November 07, 2023 in Washington, DC. Republican members of Congress are gathering to discuss the possibility of a budget continuing resolution as the November 17 government shutdown deadline looms. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Even in the deep and murky annals of congressional corruption, there’s no one quite like Rep. George Santos (R-NY). Who else, after all, could hope to match the sheer mendacity or the brazenness of his alleged scams? 

Santos has put himself forward as a martyr and victim of Deep State conspiracy even as investigators and reporters — including the team at TPM — have tracked a money trail with funds seemingly getting taken from his donors’ pockets and spent on various excesses including luxury goods, cosmetic treatments, and gambling. It’s as if Santos were a planetary convergence of political scandal, a once-in-a-lifetime alignment of grifting, lying, and adopting a perpetually scandalized tone in response to it all. He is the ultimate reflection of MAGA-era Republican politics, the corruption of an entire political moment made incarnate in one person.  

And, of course, as faithful readers know, TPM has been at the forefront of breaking news about and chronicling Santos’s unprecedented scandalousness the whole way. Our coverage began late last year with exposés on Santos’ murky past at a company that the SEC characterized as a “classic Ponzi scheme” and the network of Florida shell companies he ran with former associates. We moved on to break a series of critical stories including breaking the news of financial improprieties that ultimately were core parts of both the criminal case against Santos and the House Ethics Committee probe. 

TPM has always been dedicated to exposing and reveling in political corruption, hypocrisy, and the dangers of the far-right. All of that makes Santos one of the most classic TPM stories ever and we played a leading role in covering what was unpacked in today’s report: 

  • Back in January, TPM was the first and only outlet to report allegations that donors to Santos reported tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges on their credit cards from his campaign after initially contributing. Federal prosecutors brought fraud charges against Santos over the scheme in October.  
  • This month, TPM exclusively reported that the Ethics Committee was focusing on allegations that Santos scammed another Republican congressional campaign. Our article included previously unreleased text messages that showed Santos feuding with a Republican operative who told him to “lay off being a liar.” The campaign meltdown was a major part of the House report, which included some of the text exchanges that first appeared on our site. 
  • Much of the Ethics Committee report focused on Santos’ wild spending and bizarre accounting gimmicks, exposing payments made from his campaign coffers on personal expenses like Botox, Atlantic City resorts, and luxury brands Hermes and Ferragamo. According to the investigators, some of these irregularities prompted staffers to resign. TPM was way ahead on the financial improprieties and chaos on Team Santos. We first reported on Santos’ outrageous campaign spending in January in a story that featured interviews with GOP operatives who briefly worked for the campaign before resigning, noting that “things were not on the up and up.” Some of the complex transactions that steered money from donors to Santos’ personal accounts involved RISE NY PAC, a New York state political committee, which Santos operated with his sister. TPM was ahead on that front too. Back in January, we noted how the obscure local committee funneled cash to Santos’ sister and other associates.
  • Amid our scoops and investigations we have reveled in the more colorful details of one of Capitol Hill’s wildest scandals. This included introducing the world to key players on Santos’ House staff, publishing leaked audio that showed just how strange it got in Santos’ office, and conducting an interview with the embattled congressman’s Botox doctor. 

Santos’ story isn’t over yet. As the drama continues to unfold, TPM will stay ahead of the curve on Santos and the broader world of MAGA malfeasance that made his rise possible. 

The Best Of TPM Today

Here’s what you should read this evening:

The gist: House Ethics Committee Releases Report On George Santos

The deep dive: ‘High Roller’: Bombshells From Santos Report Include Imaginary Maserati, Spending Sprees On Casinos, ‘Botox’ And OnlyFans

The bonus: We Talked To George Santos’ ‘Botox’ Doctor

Senate Democrats Punt On Supreme Court Oversight In Favor Of Early Vacation

No Plans To Veer From The McCarthy Punishment Playbook

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

The Long National Nightmare Inflicted By The House GOP Isn’t Nearly Over — David Kurtz

What We Are Reading

Supreme Court declines Florida’s request to enforce anti-drag show law — NBC News

Ohio 2024 Poll: Brown Tops Potential GOP Opponents in the U.S. Senate Race — Emerson Polling

Elon Musk’s Disturbing ‘Truth’ — The Atlantic

Latest Where Things Stand
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