Dec 19, 2022 - Politics & Policy

The murky details in one congressman-elect's campaign biography

George Santos, Republican US Representative candidate for New York, in Oyster Bay, New York, US, on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022.

George Santos in Oyster Bay, N.Y., on Sept. 1. Photo: Jackie Molloy/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republican Rep.-elect George Santos clinched victory on Long Island last month. But large portions of his résumé — which he made central to his campaign — have been called into question, according to a New York Times report out Monday.

The big picture: Santos, the first openly gay, non-incumbent Republican elected to the House, is the son of Brazilian immigrants who the GOP touted as an embodiment of the American dream.

  • Santos' campaign biography highlighted stints at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and noted that he worked at his family's firm, which he said managed more than $80 million in assets.
  • The website also said he founded an animal rescue charity that has saved thousands of dogs and cats.

Yes, but: Key parts of his biography could not be verified, the New York Times reports after reviewing public documents and court filings. For example, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs told the Times they had no record of Santos ever working there.

  • A spokesperson for Citi was not able to confirm to Axios that Santos was employed with the bank.
  • A Goldman Sachs spokesperson also confirmed that they had no record of employment for Santos.

Santos has said he ran a 501(c)(3) nonprofit animal rescue organization called Friends of Pets United for five years. But a search on the Internal Revenue Service's website did not return a listing for a charity by that name.

  • ProPublica's Nonprofit Explorer site — which compiles IRS filings for roughly the 2011-2018 fiscal years — includes no organization with that name.

Baruch College, where Santos said he graduated, told Axios it checked school records for someone with his name and date of birth but didn't find a match.

  • New York University also said it found no record of someone with Santos' name and date of birth attending the institution.
  • The website of the National Republican Congressional Committee, the House Republicans' campaign arm, says he attended both Baruch College and NYU.
  • Santos also reported a $750,000 salary and more than $1 million in dividends from his family's firm, the Devolder Organization, which does not have any easily accessible public websites, and his disclosure did not note any clients.

Of note: The biography on his campaign's website was significantly revised between Oct. 21 and 27 to remove references to Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, the family's firm and the nonprofit, according to archived versions of the site captured by the Wayback Machine.

  • A spokesperson for Santos did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: Joe Murray, an attorney for Santos, said that "George Santos represents the kind of progress that the Left is so threatened by - a gay, Latino, immigrant and Republican who won a Biden district in overwhelming fashion by showing everyday voters that there is a better option than the broken promises and failed policies of the Democratic Party."

  • "After four years in the public eye, and on the verge of being sworn in as a member of the Republican led 118th Congress, the New York Times launches this shotgun blast of attacks," Murray said in a statement.
  • "It is no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at the New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations."

State of play: Santos flipped his seat from blue to red in November after beating Democrat Robert Zimmerman.

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Editor's note: This article has been updated with confirmation from a Goldman Sachs spokesperson and a statement from attorney Joe Murray.

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