As financial questions continue to swirl around George Santos, his campaign might face a new criminal investigation.
The Federal Election Commission notified the treasurer for the Santos campaign and his other political committees that they “may have failed to include the true, correct, or complete treasurer information” when they erroneously named a new treasurer earlier this week, according to filings posted on Friday.
That new treasurer—professional GOP political accountant Thomas Datwyler—replied in emailed letters on Friday, informing the FEC through his lawyer that he “is not the treasurer for this committee, did not file or authorize the filing of [the form]and did not authorize [the form] to be signed on his behalf.”
The letters, which The Daily Beast has reviewed but have not been posted to the FEC website, also asked the FEC to withdraw the filings and to refer the matter to law enforcement for criminal investigation. We are posting a copy here, with the permission of Datwyler’s attorney, Derek Ross.
Federal law prohibits individuals from filing knowingly false information with the government. The law also bars political committees from raising or spending money if they do not have a treasurer, who is legally responsible for filing true and accurate financial reports. (Santos’ next reports are due on Jan. 31.)
As with so many other cases with Santos, it’s not yet clear where the blame for the mixup lies—but signs point to Santos, who is ultimately in charge of his own hiring decisions.
Datwyler’s disavowal would appear to return the treasurer duties by default to Santos’ previous treasurer, Long Island accountant Nancy Marks, according to a person familiar with the FEC’s process. Another person with direct knowledge told The Daily Beast that Marks had personally filed the erroneous change in treasurers.
That would appear to mean that either Marks knowingly filed the incorrect information or that she, for whatever reason, did not get the memo from the Santos team that Datwyler was a no.
The Daily Beast reported on Thursday that Santos had approached Datwyler to help “clean up” his campaign finance reports, but Datwyler declined on Monday after reviewing the filings. His attorney, Ross, told The Daily Beast that “it appears there’s a disconnect between that conversation and the filings today, which we did not authorize.”
Santos’ campaign finances drew new scrutiny this week after Marks filed amended reports saying that $705,000 in candidate loans were no longer attributed to his “personal funds,” The Daily Beast first reported.
Asked about the change on Wednesday, Santos appeared to deflect to Marks.
“Sir—let’s make it very clear: I don’t amend anything, I don’t touch any of my FEC stuff, right?” Santos told CNN reporter Manu Raju. “So don’t be disingenuous and report that I did because you know that every campaign hires fiduciaries.”
The Daily Beast has been unable to reach Marks. A representative declined to answer questions for this article.
Campaign finance expert Paul S. Ryan previously told The Daily Beast that the treasurer bears ultimate liability for ensuring the campaign’s reports are accurate.
“If I’m the treasurer and I don’t know where the money came from, then I’m on the hook, and I’m gonna uncheck that box,” Ryan said.
Marks, who is listed as treasurer for more than 50 federal committees, has received—directly or through her companies—about $1.5 million from federal political committees over the years, with $200,000 of that from the Santos operation during his 2020 and 2022 runs, according to FEC records. About $50,000 from Santos was marked for fundraising services, records show.
Marks is also tied to a private company connected to Santos. Her company, RIA Concepts Holding LTD, appears on Florida incorporation documents for a now-dissolved consulting business called Red Strategies.
The Daily Beast reported last April that the members of Red Strategies were also tied to another troubled firm, Harbor City Capital, where Santos worked as a regional manager.
In April 2021, the SEC—without naming Santos—alleged that Harbor City was a Ponzi scheme, bilking investors out of $6 million. Santos and his colleagues (who also weren’t named in the SEC complaint) started Red Strategies the next month.
Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the Santos political operation had solicited large donations through an entity that was never registered with the FEC. The entity appears to share a name—RedStone Strategies—with another private company The Daily Beast previously reported was tied to Santos.