Indicted freshman congressman and serial fabulist George Santos is the only member of Congress who has not yet filed his mandatory personal financial disclosure, a CREW analysis of filings provided by the Clerk of the House of Representatives has found. The document’s absence is especially notable a month after the final deadline blew by—and a week after the only other remaining House holdout filed—because many of Santos’s growing legal problems are centered on his self-mythologizing about his own finances.
Santos’s failure to file not only demonstrates a lack of respect for rules that exist to provide the public with information that can be used to identify serious conflicts of interest, but it also further obscures Santos’s personal finances, which are at the center of a 13-count indictment from May, alleging that Santos cheated donors, stole from his campaign and lied to Congress on previous financial disclosures he filed as a candidate. This month Santos’s treasurer pleaded guilty to helping further his illegal schemes—including a $500,000 loan Santos himself claimed to have given to his campaign when he only had less than $8,000 in the bank—and Santos was hit this week with a 23-count superseding indictment which included accusations of pocketing campaign donors’ money.
There are significant possible penalties for knowingly failing to file an annual financial disclosure. Aside from a $200 late fee, the instructions members are given to file their annual financial reports notes that “the Attorney General may pursue either civil or criminal penalties against an individual who knowingly and willfully falsifies…or fails to file” the financial filings that are required under the Ethics in Government Act. The maximum civil and criminal penalty in such cases is $71,316, according to the document.
Santos himself has acknowledged that his report hasn’t been filed, telling the AP last month that he would “rather be late, accurate, and pay the fine than be on time, inaccurate, and suffer the consequences of a rushed job.” However, far from rushing at this point, the filings were originally due in May, and Santos never filed to request an extension. Meanwhile, his fellow House members, some of whom have vastly complicated personal finances and net worths climbing into the hundreds of millions of dollars, have all managed to file the form detailing their assets, liabilities and transactions on time. For example, Rep. Darrell Issa—who has a net worth of around $460 million—filed his financial disclosure in July.
Other members facing significant legal trouble have also managed to file. Former Rep Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) resigned from Congress in March of 2022, after being convicted of making false statements to the FBI and concealing information about his campaign donations. Four months later, Fortenberry still managed to file his termination report with the House Committee on Ethics.