A crucial financial disclosure report was due on Wednesday, but U.S. Rep. George Santos missed the deadline once more. The troubled New York Republican blamed the delay on his federal taxes and his wish to avoid doing a “rushed job.”
The disclosures, which are submitted to the House Committee on Ethics, offer a glimpse into a representative’s private finances to the general public. They are intended to protect against conceivable conflicts of interest.
Santos acknowledged being late in a statement sent via email to The Associated Press, but added that he would “rather be late, accurate, and pay the fine than be on time, inaccurate, and suffer the consequences of a rushed job.”
A 13-count federal indictment against Santos, who earned notoriety for inventing significant portions of his life story while running for government, centres on accusations of money laundering and lying to Congress in an earlier financial statement.
It’s still unclear exactly how he supported himself prior to getting elected. He claimed to work for the companies he said had hired him, although he didn’t, and he had been evicted from various flats for failing to pay rent. He described himself as a Wall Street dealmaker who also earned money in real estate. He claimed to have made money more recently by assisting wealthy individuals in purchasing expensive goods like yachts, but he hasn’t given any specifics.
In May, he was granted a 90-day extension for the House financial disclosure, but in August, the deadline passed without being met. He declared at the time that he will submit the disclosure within the 30-day grace period given by the federal government.
Santos stated he had no intention of filing until he turned in his federal tax returns from the previous year, but that deadline passed on Wednesday.
“Despite my legal team’s and my best efforts to meet the deadlines, additional auditing and tax filing for 2022 remained,” he said. “I still have until November 2023 to submit my 2022 taxes with the IRS in order to avoid legal troubles.”
“Because House filing deadlines conflict with IRS regulations, this misalignment exists,” he added.
A watchdog organization’s vice president of policy, Stephen Spaulding, called Santos’ justification “nonsensical,” adding that there was no justification for why his federal tax duties should preclude him from submitting the required statement.
“He is thumbing his nose at transparency requirements, his constituents and the public,” Spaulding said. “All the more reason to strengthen these penalties.”
Congressmen who miss the reporting deadline are merely assessed a $200 late fee under federal law. A civil fine of up to $71,316 may be imposed on those who willfully distort their statements or fail to file any paperwork at all.
While it is customary for representatives to submit their disclosures after the deadline has passed, few of them fail to do so, claims Spaulding.
“Everyone else seems to know how to comply with this,” he said. “It’s not onerous.”
Santos is due back in court in his criminal case in October.