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Congressman-elect George Devolder Santos
George Devolder Santos defeated Democrat George Zimmerman, an upset that flipped NY03 red. Photo: Wade Vandervort/AFP via Getty Images.

George Devolder Santos, the Russian doll of an American political money machine

The newly-minted Congressman-elect for NY03 received hefty contributions from an oligarchic family tree, the Daily Beast reports.

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New York’s 3rd Congressional District, a patch of land that includes Long Island’s Northshore area and parts of Queens, embraced Congressman-elect George Santos for its chosen representative in a bitter defeat for the rising Working Families Party. 

Rep. Santos reigned triumphant in the 2022 midterm elections against George Zimmerman, one of the few GOP victories as part of the red wave that washed ashore in parts of a reliably blue state. 

He was everything the modern Republican Party could ideate against the ‘wokes’ — a wealthy, young, gay Republican — born to Brazilian immigrants, attributes that fly in the face of Democratic criticism of candidate quality. 

A “walking, living, breathing contradiction,” according to the congressman, and the only capable candidate to flip the district red. 

He ran his campaign without a Trump endorsement — despite his unwavering support of the former President — though that may have spared him a loss, like other endorsees who saw rejection across the country. 

A loyal MAGA customer, Santos bought anything former President Donald Trump sold, particularly his criticisms of the Russia-Ukraine war, having called the receptor of a forceful military effort by Russia a “totalitarian regime.” 

Santos further suggested that Ukraine had welcomed the Russian military over its borders, a false claim, since it had forcefully invaded Ukraine and has since maintained a military campaign to seize it. 

He lambasted President Joe Biden for a persisting attempt to indirectly support Ukraine without supplying American troops “but fails miserably to protect the American southern border,” he wrote on Twitter with a photo attachment. 

But continued reporting by the Daily Beast has found the Congressman’s finances, both within and outside his campaign, are wishy-washy and enveloped in controversy stemming from its origins. 

For starters, Santos’ previous employer, Harbor City Capital, is fraught with federal probes into its swindling funds in a Ponzi-scheme-like manner, for a grand total of $6 million, according to the Daily Beast

Of the whopping $17.1 million Harbor City Capital raised toward business expenses, the firm never allocated more than $449,000 into its business, triggering an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. 

The SEC’s report is a damning outline of the firm’s reckless spending behavior, including “false claims and omissions to investors,” such as “ill-begotten funds” to the tune of $1 million to employees “for no legitimate reason,” the SEC report reads. 

Responding to questions by the Daily Beast regarding his relationship while campaigning, then-nominee Devolder-Santos distanced himself from Harbor City Capital and said he was “disturbed” by the findings. 

“I’m as distraught and disturbed as everyone else is,” the now Rep-elect told the Daily Beast.

He maintained his role while in pursuit of a congressional bid was that of an account manager, and he had long abandoned his executive role, but his campaign website described in detail his involvement with Harbor City Capital as regional director. 

“I stepped aside from all of my obligations in 2021, and I did not do that previously, and I find that to have hindered the success of my run for office,” he told Daily Beast reporters. 

He later removed his fragment with the firm from the website, but kept everything else. 

But the Russian doll of Santos’ finances is mired with suspicion, starting with his unsuccessful 2020 campaign bid, which, unlike his 2022 race, was self-funded, despite having claimed no more than $5,000 in his initial filing, the minimum for a campaign finance trigger. 

His previous income, derived from the Ponzi-accused Harbor firm, had been $50,000

Then Devolder Santos also either failed to disclose a series of assets required by finance law, and loaned himself $80 thousand.

Still, in 2022, Devolder-Santos claimed an $11 million net worth —  including personal bank accounts of between $1 million and $5 million; a condo in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, of between $500,000 and $1 million; and business interests of between $1 million and $5 million — according to a filing in Sept. 6, 2022. 

The Northshore Leader also disputed a claim by Devolder-Santos regarding a self-loan in the amount of $600,000, which does not show up in campaign filings, along with a string of properties, including a Hamptons mansion he touted, that did not belong to him. 

And most recently, the Daily Beast found Santos received significant monetary injections from Andrew Intrater, who shares a familial relation with Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, who has given the Kremlin Vladirmir Putin weighty cash infusions. 

Intrater, with his wife, the Daily Beast found, poured cash into a number of committees supporting Devolder-Santos, including:

- $20,000 into GADS PAC, a leadership PAC with Devolder-Santos’ initials.

- $12,100 into Devolder Santos Nassau Vixtory, a fundraising committee, formed with the Nassau County Republican Party.

- $12,400 to the Devolder Santos for Congress committee.

A spokesperson for Devolder-Santos, associated with Intrater, declined to comment to the Daily Beast regarding the campaign donations, and redirected reporters to a seemingly unsupervised press email. 

Santos claimed to have no income over the last year, according to his campaign filings. 

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