A secret internal report commissioned by George Santos, a New York congressman, has been made public, revealing troubling aspects of his background. The report, prepared by an outside firm called Capital Research Group, LLC, highlights concerns about Santos’ marriage, his family’s claimed link to the Holocaust, and alleged ties to companies accused of fraud and scamming customers.
The report, commonly known as a vulnerability report, is a standard step in political campaigns to prepare for potential attacks from opponents. Santos’ campaign paid over $16,600 to Capital Research Group, LLC for their services, according to campaign finance records.
Portions of the report, obtained by CBS News, draw from Santos’ social media accounts, including posts and photos that have since been deleted. However, a spokesperson for Santos declined to comment on the report, stating that his office does not comment on personal matters.
The report’s conclusions were shared with campaign strategists for top House Republicans, leading the Congressional Leadership Fund, a primary super PAC dedicated to electing House Republicans, to withhold its support for Santos. However, top House Republican Elise Stefanik campaigned with Santos even after the report was compiled.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy expressed prior reservations about Santos’ background but did not confirm if he had seen the vulnerability report. The report, which spans over 100 pages, raises questions about Santos’ campaign finance activities, similar to those brought up by federal prosecutors in the ongoing criminal case against him.
Santos was indicted by a federal grand jury in May and faces charges of wire fraud, money laundering, making false statements to the House of Representatives, and theft of public funds. U.S. Attorney Breon Peace accused Santos of using political contributions for personal gain, unlawfully applying for pandemic-related unemployment benefits, and lying to Congress. Santos has pleaded not guilty to all charges and has disputed some of the allegations in television interviews.
The report also questions Santos’ educational background, as he claimed to have studied at NYU and Baruch College. However, researchers found no record of Santos earning any degree from either institution.
Additionally, the report highlights Santos’ previous role as a senior executive with Harbor City Capital, a Florida-based firm accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of operating as a Ponzi scheme. Santos has stated that he was unaware of any wrongdoing at the company, which has since been shut down.
While Democrats assembled their own research report on Santos during the campaign, it missed many of the damaging details that were later independently verified by CBS News and other outlets.
As Santos prepares to fight the federal fraud charges in court, the release of the vulnerability report sheds light on concerns about his background that emerged long before his election as a congressman.