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George Santos
Rep. George Santos after being expelled from the House of Representatives last year. Stephanie Scarbrough/AP

George Santos’ Campaign Claims Debts of $630,000 to George Santos

Federal prosecutors allege that most of the hundreds of thousands of dollars in loans the campaign claims to owe Santos were fraudulent.

Former Rep. George Santos’ campaign owes $630,000 to Santos himself — money he supposedly loaned the campaign in 2022, according to new campaign filings Wednesday.

But federal prosecutors and the House Ethics Committee allege most of those loans were either nonexistent or donations from outside groups illegally skirting contribution limits.

Santos has denied wrongdoing, and as of this week, his campaign is still listing the contested loans as part of $776,080 in outstanding debt. Representatives for Santos’ campaign committee did not respond to a request for comment and his lawyer declined to comment.

“He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign,” a House Ethics Committee report said in November. “And then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported ‘repayments’ of those fictitious loans.”

The rest of the listed debt in new campaign filings amounted to nearly $150,000 in charges, many of them from Santos’ 2022 campaign, that he has yet to pay: money for legal bills, campaign strategists, his former communications director and $10,000 to an Italian restaurant in Queens, Il Bacco, marked on the forms as “election night catering.”

The debts reflect the trail of wreckage Santos left behind after being expelled from Congress in December after a House Ethics Committee report found he had fraudulently collected and spent campaign funds. Santos can legally forgive the debt from the loans he reportedly gave himself — but not the almost $150,000 in expenses that he owes creditors.

There is also question over whether the money for the loans came from Santos himself: House investigators found Santos and two companies he owed were “paid $800,000, in three installments” shortly before Santos made the loans to his campaign.

“Without these payments, Representative Santos would not have had the funds to make these loans to his campaign,” the House Ethics Committee found in its report.

There are few signs Santos will be able to pay his debtors any time soon. He is now facing both federal and potential state investigations with mounting legal bills. And Santos raised only $11,415 during the final quarter of 2023 from donors as his political career slid into chaos (though his side hustle as a Cameo star has reportedly earned him six figures, according to Semafor).

The largest among these debts was about $69,000 owed to the legal firm Dickinson Wright, whose clients also include the RNC, Steve Scalise, Ron DeSantis and dozens of other Republican politicians.

It’s not clear when the legal services were provided to Santos — the debt was first listed in campaign finance filings last fall as “prior debt” the campaign treasurer became newly aware of. Santos’ former treasurer pleaded guilty in October to conspiracy to defraud the government. Dickinson Wright did not respond to NOTUS’ request for comment.

Santos did not pay down any of his debts last quarter, according to reports, but he did spend nearly $1,400 at the Capitol Hill Club, the week he was expelled from Congress.

Claire Heddles is a NOTUS reporter and an Allbritton Journalism Institute fellow. Maggie Severns is a reporter at NOTUS.