The Daily Santos: Where's Nancy?

The search for George's campaign treasurer, a doctor gets duped, FEC updates, and more.

Let’s kick things off with some George headlines to start your day…

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is finally kind of, sort of saying that Santos might be removed from office…if the House Ethics Committee finds evidence of wrongdoing. That’s a big IF, considering the committee’s powers were just gutted. 

George’s favorite Italian joint is making headlines again, with a man who met with him there about a potential investment opportunity saying it “felt like we were in ‘Goodfellas,’ like we were in a mafia movie.” 

POLITICO has the receipts on all those $199.99 receipts. 

Make sure to check out my interview with former Santos campaign intern Abdullah Hassan that I published Tuesday night. Hassan interned for the 2020 campaign and describes a bizarre incident where the candidate forced him to lie to the local energy company as part of a stunt for a political ad.

Where’s Nancy?

Monday night I drove out to Shirley, a town way out east on Long Island that definitely isn’t in George’s district. But it’s where his campaign was registered, where his campaign treasurer Nancy Marks lives, and where she’s a trustee on the board of the local library. It was a haul for a dark and rainy January night, but since the story about George’s duplicity first broke, Marks has been unreachable, and this was the first public event where she was, in theory, supposed to be.

The meeting kicked off at 7pm, and though a name plate marked her place, Marks never showed. 

It wasn’t my first journey out east to get a glimpse of Marks and try to understand the role she played in Santos’ financially shady campaign for congress: earlier this month, I drove out to 47 Flintlock Drive, an address listed on not just Santos’ campaign filing, but dozens of other campaigns (including every campaign Lee Zeldin has run since 2008), PACs, and LLCs. 

I pulled up to a modest split-level home with a giant ZELDIN FOR GOVERNOR flag and four cars parked out front. One car had multiple bumper stickers, including one for Zeldin, another for local prosecutor Ray Tierney, plus one that said “SAVE OUR STATE” and a thin blue line flag decal. Across the street, neighbors were taking down Christmas lights and I said I was looking for Nancy’s house. They pointed at the house and confirmed she did, in fact, live there.

But what really goes on behind the doors of Marks’ house remains a mystery. After stopping by the library meeting Monday night, I swung by the house again and rang the doorbell. Lights were on inside, two cars were out front, but no one acknowledged me or the bell. I watched as a TV news crew pulled up a few minutes later and tried the same, to no avail.

Marks is set to be honored Friday night at a dinner hosted by a local organization called Colonial Youth and Family Services because of her “generous contributions” to her community. For a cool $100, you can enjoy dinner, an open bar and participate in two varieties of auctions. But whether the woman of the hour will show up remains to be seen.

What’s up, Doc?

A guy who willingly gave $50,000 to the Santos campaign went fishing for sympathy Tuesday morning in Newsday, admitting he fell for the endless string of lies. Dr. Jeff Vacirca, chief executive of New York Blood & Cancer Specialists on Long Island and personal doctor of Lee Zeldin, was connected to Santos by—guess who!—his PAC treasurer Nancy Marks last summer, and he was under the impression Santos was interested in working with the organization. Conquering Cancer PAC formed in 2021 while Zeldin’s campaign for governor was ramping up, and it was immediately flagged as a potential scam

But Vacirca says he was so psyched about Santos’ interest that he funneled tens of thousands of dollars to the longshot congressional campaign and its related fundraising arms. “He told us his story: about working for Citibank, that his mom got cancer [and said], ‘I’m 100% on board with what you guys are doing. I want to support you,’” he told Newsday. 

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit in this story, however, is that because of the fallout from the Santos campaign, Varirca says he’s removed Marks as his treasurer. As far as I can tell, this is the first real consequence Marks has faced for her involvement with Santos. More to come.

Making amends

Santos’ team filed a bunch of amended campaign finance reports Tuesday afternoon, making one very small change with very big implications: The $500k he claimed was a personal loan from his own company did not actually come from him. But as The Daily Beast explains, we still don’t know where it *did* come from.

While both the old and new campaign filings claim that the loans came “from the candidate,” the campaign’s most recent amended filing had ticked the box for “personal funds of the candidate”; on the newly amended filing today, that box is unchecked.

Another amended filing on Tuesday disclosed that a $125,000 “loan from the candidate” in late October also did not come from his “personal funds,” but like the $500,000 question, did not say where the money came from, when the loan was due, or what entity, if any, backed the money.

The unchecked box opens Santos to a world of new scrutiny about the campaign loan that everyone is trying to get to the bottom of. Whether it was from a Russian oligarch, or funneled from other sources, we can now safely say it wasn’t a result of George pulling himself up by his bootstraps.

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