FEC wants answers on Rep. Santos’ chaotic treasurer switch

George Santos
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. George Santos’ campaign committee is facing new questions from federal regulators after submitting paperwork listing a new treasurer who says he never took the job.

The Federal Election Commission sent a letter Thursday to the Devolder Santos for Congress campaign seeking clarity on the switch. It’s the latest scrutiny for the New York congressman who has been caught fabricating many elements of his life story.

The letter said the first-year Republican’s campaign “may have failed to include the true, correct, or complete treasurer information” on paperwork Wednesday listing Thomas Datwyler as its new treasurer and custodian of records.

Five other political fundraising committees linked to Santos received the same letters after they, too, filed paperwork Wednesday listing Datwyler as their new treasurer.

The campaign and committees have until March 2 to respond. If they fail to do so, paperwork listing Datwyler as treasurer will be placed in the “unverified” section of the FEC’s website and the committees could face additional enforcement action.

If Santos’ campaign is found to have knowingly and willfully made any “materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation” on its paperwork, it could potentially face criminal charges, the FEC’s letter said.

A message seeking comment was left with a campaign lawyer.

Devolder Santos for Congress filed a new statement of organization on Wednesday listing Datwyler as treasurer and custodian of records, replacing Nancy Marks, who had held both positions since Santos first ran for Congress in 2020.

The switch came amid lingering questions about irregularities in the committee’s financial reports and the source of Santos’ wealth.

Datwyler said through a lawyer, Derek Ross, that he had declined the job and was not aware that he would be listed as treasurer on the campaign’s filings, which included what it said was his electronic signature, along with his email and mailing addresses.

“On Monday we informed the Santos campaign that Mr. Datwyler would not be serving as treasurer,” Datwyler’s lawyer, Derek Ross, said in a statement. “It appears there’s a disconnect between that conversation and the filings (Wednesday) which we did not authorize.”

Under federal regulations, a campaign committee can’t raise or spend money unless it has a treasurer. The treasurer collects all contributions — and only the treasurer, or a person designated by the treasurer, can approve campaign expenses.