Santos aide reportedly impersonated McCarthy's chief of staff in calls to GOP donors: 'We were duped'
National Republican Congressional Committee

An individual paid by George Santos' campaign called wealthy donors pretending to be Kevin McCarthy's chief of staff, according to a new report.

The newly elected New York Republican fabricated major portions of his backstory presented to voters, and CNBC reported that his congressional campaign raised nearly $3 million by falsely claiming high-level ties to McCarthy, who was GOP majority leader at the time and was elected last week as House speaker.

"We were duped," said a GOP political strategist close to the leadership of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which banned Santos from its events after the revelation that he had falsely claimed to be Jewish.

Santos staffer Sam Miele was calling and sending emails to wealthy donors impersonating McCarthy's top staffer Dan Meyer in a scheme cooked up by a member of the GOP candidate's political team, and the now-House speaker's team first learned of the deception in August.

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Miele called donors pretending to be Meyer and then sent follow-up emails from a phony address, according to the Washington Times, which first reported the deception last month but had not confirmed the name of the Santos staffer involved in the scheme.

“A person who misrepresented themselves as speaking on behalf of a candidate in order to raise money may have committed a criminal violation, and any other person who knowingly and willfully participated in the plan could also face criminal charges,” said Brendan Fischer, a deputy executive director of the watchdog Documented.

No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the scheme, and Santos' lawyer would not say whether the lawmaker was aware that Miele impersonated McCarthy's chief of staff, and a spokesman for McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment.