New York Republican George Santos, who won NY-3's House seat on Long Island in November, seems like on the surface the kind of Republican who could have a long career as the "reasonable" Red State warrior in Blue New York, young, openly gay, and charismatic, the well-educated scion of a Long Island real estate empire and the son of Brazilian immigrants.
George Santos, whose election to Congress on Long Island last month helped Republicans clinch a narrow majority in the House of Representatives, built his candidacy on the notion that he was the “full embodiment of the American dream” and was running to safeguard it for others.
His campaign biography amplified his storybook journey: He is the son of Brazilian immigrants, and the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent. By his account, he catapulted himself from a New York City public college to become a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” with a family-owned real estate portfolio of 13 properties and an animal rescue charity that saved more than 2,500 dogs and cats.
But a New York Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Mr. Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters.
Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, the marquee Wall Street firms on Mr. Santos’s campaign biography, told The Times they had no record of his ever working there. Officials at Baruch College, which Mr. Santos has said he graduated from in 2010, could find no record of anyone matching his name and date of birth graduating that year.
There was also little evidence that his animal rescue group, Friends of Pets United, was, as Mr. Santos claimed, a tax-exempt organization: The Internal Revenue Service could locate no record of a registered charity with that name.
His financial disclosure forms suggest a life of some wealth. He lent his campaign more than $700,000 during the midterm election, has donated thousands of dollars to other candidates in the last two years and reported a $750,000 salary and over $1 million in dividends from his company, the Devolder Organization.
Yet the firm, which has no public website or LinkedIn page, is something of a mystery. On a campaign website, Mr. Santos once described Devolder as his “family’s firm” that managed $80 million in assets. On his congressional financial disclosure, he described it as a capital introduction consulting company, a type of boutique firm that serves as a liaison between investment funds and deep-pocketed investors. But Mr. Santos’s disclosures did not reveal any clients, an omission three election law experts said could be problematic if such clients exist.
And while Mr. Santos has described a family fortune in real estate, he has not disclosed, nor could The Times find, records of his properties.
Mr. Santos’s eight-point victory, in a district in northern Long Island and northeast Queens that previously favored Democrats, was considered a mild upset. He had lost decisively in the same district in 2020 to Tom Suozzi, then the Democratic incumbent, and had seemed to be too wedded to former President Donald J. Trump and his stances to flip his fortunes.
His appearance earlier this month at a gala in Manhattan attended by white nationalists and right-wing conspiracy theorists underscored his ties to Mr. Trump’s right-wing base.
At the same time, new revelations uncovered by The Times — including the omission of key information on Mr. Santos’s personal financial disclosures, and criminal charges for check fraud in Brazil — have the potential to create ethical and possibly legal challenges once he takes office.
Mr. Santos did not respond to repeated requests from The Times that he furnish either documents or a résumé with dates that would help to substantiate the claims he made on the campaign trail. He also declined to be interviewed, and neither his lawyer nor Big Dog Strategies, a Republican-oriented political consulting group that handles crisis management, responded to a detailed list of questions.
The lawyer, Joe Murray, said in a short statement that it was “no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at The New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”