Rep. George Santos’ congressional campaign reported dozens of transactions just cents below the threshold that would have triggered a requirement to preserve spending records — an unusual spending pattern that is now part of broader complaints about alleged financial improprieties.
Santos, who admitted in December that he faked parts of his biography, already faces a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission alleging his campaign repeatedly reported suspicious expenses. Those included eight charges of exactly $199.99 at an Italian restaurant in Queens and another $199.99 charge at a Miami-area hotel where rooms do not usually go for less than $600 per night. The specific amount matters because campaigns are required by law to keep receipts or invoices for expenses greater than $200
Campaigns rack up millions of dollars in expenses and thousands of line items per campaign, but it is rare for them to notch even one $199 expense, according to a POLITICO review of campaign finance records. FEC data shows more than 90 percent of House and Senate campaign committees around the country did not report a single transaction valued between $199 and $199.99 during the 2022 election cycle.
Santos reported 40 of them.
In fact, his campaign accounted for roughly half of all expenses by all campaigns that cost exactly $199.99 — a statistical improbability.
The rarity of campaign expenses falling so close to the legal limit for retaining receipts has raised concerns that the Santos campaign’s disbursements were “deliberately falsified,” a complaint from the Campaign Legal Center alleges. Major questions about Santos’ campaign financing remain unanswered, including the source of $700,000 that the New York congressman ostensibly loaned to his campaign despite questions about his personal finances.