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FEC Complaint: New York GOP Rep. George Santos staffer posed as McCarthy aide to raise money [USA Today]

Feb 16, 2023

USA Today: FEC Complaint: New York GOP Rep. George Santos staffer posed as McCarthy aide to raise money

Rachel Looker

Key Points:

  • A staffer from George Santos’ campaign posed as a top aide to House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy to raise campaign funds — and kept up the front over the course of two campaign cycles, according to a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission Wednesday.

  • The complaint, filed by liberal political action committee End Citizens United, alleges McCarthy’s office was aware since 2021 the campaign staffer was impersonating the then-minority leader’s chief of staff.

  • Santos’ lawyer and McCarthy’s campaign did not immediately respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

  • The complaint alleges a member of Santos’ campaign team solicited money under false pretenses by pretending to be McCarthy’s chief of staff.

  • It is the third complaint End Citizens United filed with the FEC related to Santos’ finances. Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., and the Campaign Legal Center also requested investigations from the FEC into his campaign funds. Those two are not related to the latest complaint.

  • End Citizens United filed an additional complaint last month with the FEC that alleged Santos used a shell corporation to fund more than $700,000 in loans that he gave to his campaign.

  • The complaint alleges that Sam Miele, who worked as a fundraiser for Santos’ campaign in 2020 and 2022, sent emails and made calls soliciting money and identifying himself as McCarthy’s Chief of Staff Dan Meyer. Miele would then follow up with donors using fake email addresses.

  • One donor contacted by Miele became suspicious and reached out to McCarthy’s office to confirm the outreach. They were told by Meyer “this isn’t me,” according to the complaint.

  • End Citizens United claims Miele, on behalf of Santos’ campaign, violated federal law by misrepresenting himself when soliciting campaign funds and gave the impression that McCarthy endorsed the donations.

  • According to the complaint, McCarthy’s office was aware that Miele was impersonating Meyer as early as August 2021.

  • “When this issue came to our attention last year, I raised it with the Santos campaign and felt it was resolved to our satisfaction,” Elliot Berke, McCarthy’s counsel, told the New York Post.