A Bus Trip, A Penny, And A Rifle Pin

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Santos critics head to his offices as financial oddities mount

 

It’s been another busy week in the world of U.S. Representative George Santos (NY-03), with plenty of symbols and keywords cutting through the near-constant buzz.
On February 7, for example, local members of Courage for America, Concerned Citizens of NY-03, and Make the Road Action took a bus trip to Washington, D.C. for a press conference on Capitol Hill calling for Congress to expel Santos. While there, they also delivered a petition to that end to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as they did a few days earlier at Santos’ New York office (which still names former Rep.
Tom Suozzi on its awning).
That week, multiple news outlets also reported on a peculiar finding in the campaign finances of Santos as well as another familiar political face in Nassau County. As CNN’s Fredreka Schouten, Kara Scannell and Gregory Krieg explained, “In the fall of 2020, then-New York Rep. Lee Zeldin’s campaign submitted a report to federal regulators with a series of unusual expenses: 21 payments on a single day of exactly $199.99 each. The outlays – each just one penny below the dollar figure above which campaigns are required to keep receipts – all went to anonymous recipients … a pattern that has emerged recently in the filings of [George Santos].” Both men’s congressional campaigns had the same person, Nancy Marks, as treasurer.
Starting February 1, Santos has also been getting public heat for wearing a shiny metal pin shaped like an AR-15 rifle on his jacket in Congress. According to fact-checking website Snopes.com, Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia has taken credit for handing out such pins to Santos and Rep. Ana Paulina Luna of Florida, who were both pictured in the House with the rifle pins on their lapels.
As Alex Kasprak noted for Snopes, “Clyde is the owner of a gun store in his home state of Georgia. As reported by The Washington Post, the AR-15 pins were not the first weapons-based souvenir promoted by some GOP members of the 118th Congress: ‘Clyde’s distribution of the gun-shaped pins comes after newly elected Rep. Cory Mills passed out dummy grenades stamped with the GOP logo last week to other members of Congress, along with a note on his office letterhead emphasizing that the ordnance was made in Florida.’”

Other Recent Highlights:
• In early February, news broke that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into Santos’ actions with regard to allegations from a formerly homeless veteran that Santos kept the $3000 they’d raised to save the man’s service dog.
• Patch.com’s Jacqueline Sweet reported on apparent, strange and mispelled Facebook comment by Santos posted in 2011 that seems to both insult/incite harm against Jewish and Black people and give the impression he sat on the keyboard.
• A former job-applicant to Santos’ campaign recently accused the freshman congressman of sexual harassment.
• According to Bloomberg, Santos previously told some potential campaign donors that he had been one of the producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, a famously money-losing and professionally hazardous musical that did three years on Broadway in the early 2010s.
• Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan released an op-ed on his proposed G.E.O.R.G.E. (Get Egregious Officials Removed from Government Elections) Package, featuring proposed laws “to safeguard against individuals like Mr. Santos from ever getting elected in the first place.”
• Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (NY-04) told NPR in early February, “Close to 80 percent of people polled think [Santos] should not be in office.”

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