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HomePoliticsGeorge Santos Exposes a Disturbing Truth: Campaign Finance Laws Are Easily Abused

George Santos Exposes a Disturbing Truth: Campaign Finance Laws Are Easily Abused

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In an April assertion to The New York Times relating to a unique matter, the F.E.C.’s chairwoman, Dara Lindenbaum, a Democrat, and its vice chairman, Sean J. Cooksey, a Republican, stated: “We take this agency’s enforcement and transparency mission seriously, as do all of our colleagues. Without commenting on any specific case, Commissioners assess each enforcement matter on its merits, and we reach agreement in nearly 90 percent of them. Any claim that the Commission is ‘toothless’ or that its bipartisan structure prevents it from fulfilling its mission is misinformed.”

Even because the F.E.C. sought to answer Mr. Santos’s actions with its regular enforcement mechanisms, these instruments weren’t on their very own capable of deal with the extent of the brazen misconduct he has been accused of. In the months earlier than Mr. Santos’s election, the F.E.C. despatched his marketing campaign a collection of “requests for additional information” — commonplace inquiries looking for particulars about transactions not totally accounted for in a committee’s common filings with the fee.

The F.E.C. doesn’t have the ability to look in financial institution accounts and should take marketing campaign finance disclosure stories at face worth. Unlike the Securities and Exchange Commission, it isn’t a regulatory company — its main mission, specified by its most up-to-date annual report, is to supply transparency and “promote compliance.”

Some questions on Mr. Santos’s marketing campaign stay unanswered. His marketing campaign’s filings are full of suspicious expenditures — for instance, among the dozens of expenses pegged at $199.99, cents under the federal threshold that requires receipts — and outright omissions, similar to a whole bunch of hundreds of {dollars} in spending that was by no means accounted for.

“Unfortunately, we don’t know what we don’t know,” stated Paul S. Ryan, a marketing campaign finance knowledgeable who beforehand labored on the Campaign Legal Center. “The bottom line here is that the only thing the F.E.C. sees, in most instances, at first glance, are the campaign finance disclosure reports,” he stated. “And if someone is smart enough to simply lie about what they are using it for,” then it might probably go neglected, he stated.

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