The Daily Santos: Vol. 3

The gift that keeps on giving.

Things have been busy here at The Handbasket, with the Daily Santos report already (like George) rising to national prominence. Wednesday night, I stopped by Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show to talk about the country’s preeminent fake volleyball star and Santos’ many financial entanglements. I also published an MSNBC column about what it’s like being someone who grew up in his district, and the hilarious dishonesty of local Republicans calling for his head.  

And still, the news about the man who puts the con in congressman keeps rolling. Here’s the latest…

The money trail

We’re starting to get closer to understanding exactly how Santos got that $700k cash infusion into his campaign, with a new New York Times investigation taking a deep dive into a company called Redstone Strategies. If that sounds like the name of a fake Republican firm created for Veep, that’s because it very well may be. Per the story, donors were pressured by the candidate to donate before Election Day to Redstone, with assurances that it was a totally kosher type of donation. But it looks like Santos may have—gasp!—lied.

Three months later, Mr. Santos is now in Congress, but where the donor’s money went is unclear. The Federal Election Commission said it had no evidence that RedStone Strategies was registered as a political group, and there do not appear to be any records documenting its donors, contributions or spending…

A company website describes that Redstone as being run by “experters in marketing and others in politics” whose services in ad creation, communications and fund-raising have value “no matter if you are in a local race or if you are going to be the next president of the United States.”

Yet the firm’s body of work — at least for candidates and committees that are required to file campaign expense reports — appears limited.

If you didn’t realize “experters” was a word, that makes two of us. But as it seems with so many things close to this campaign, it’s not clear if the maneuvers with Redstone were illegal or just incredibly shady.

Two peas on a pod

Wednesday and Thursday marked a bit of a sea change in Santos’ response to the nonstop scrutiny: folks, he’s getting feisty! After former Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger tweeted for Santos to resign, George shot back with a zinger.

It’s giving Jim Jordan, with a hint of Stefanik. 

But the ‘tude didn’t end there. He stopped by Steve Bannon’s podcast on Thursday where Congressman Matt Gaetz was in the interviewer’s seat, and had (to use a Jew-ish phrase) the chutzpah to say “I’ve lived an honest life.” Gaetz was all too happy to kick off the Normalization of George Santos’ Sociopathy Tour, by saying essentially, aren’t all of us here in Congress just a little full of shit?

Hell hath no fury like a group chat scorned

A number of Santos’ former friends and acquaintances in New York, Florida and Brazil have started a Portuguese-language group chat called “Lies have short legs” where they commiserate about the terrible things he did to them. One woman, who in the past provided food and shelter for a needy Santos, said "he stole my life."

The woman, who says she helped pay for Santos to move to New York in 2011, claims he stole cash from her, and later ended up stealing jewelry from her that he had taken to supposedly keep safe. 

Meanwhile in Brazil

Though this is an American political story, it obviously has deep ties to Brazil where Santos once lived and where he’s still wanted for a crime. Now Brazilian media is digging into his past, too, and sharing new revelations before American media. In typical George fashion, the new nuggets are nuts.

On Sunday, a popular Brazilian late-night TV show called Fantástico aired a segment with new findings about Santos. The congressman reportedly used different names and nationalities—like Russian—on dating app profiles. He used variations of his name, too, including George Devolder, Anthony Devolder, and Anthony Zabrovski.

The Brazilian TV show reported that Santos splurged while living in Niterói in 2008 with his mother, who passed away in 2016, and his sister. In an interview, a woman called Adriana Damasceno claimed to have met Santos at a Bingo parlor. Damasceno said they became friends and that during a trip to the United States in 2011, he went “shopping under her name, withdrew all the money she had in the bank, and even pawned jewelry.” When asked about whether she had reported anything to authorities, Damasceno said Santos bragged about having dual citizenship—American and Brazilian—and that she felt powerless to come forward.

He was also described by a pharmacist who knew him as a “pathological liar.”

A work of fiction

George’s resume has been published, and it reflects the story he’s told—which is to say it doesn’t reflect reality. Feast your eyes on this:

Phew. That’s all for today.

Have a Santos-related tip? Email [email protected]

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