As investigators ramp up inquiries into the sketchy financial transactions conducted by Rep. George Santos' campaign in 2020 that sent the New York Republican to Congress, his former bookkeeper may become the focus of an additional probe.
According to a report from the New York Times, bookkeeper Nancy Marks has a long history of working for Republican candidates, including former Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and questions have been raised about some of her practices – including whether she has been absconding with funds.
Marks, who left her Santos job two months ago, could be a key witness against the GOP lawmaker, but her attorney and the Justice Department are keeping mum over whether she is providing information about the embattled congressman, the report said.
According to the Times report, when it comes to the Santos campaign, "Campaign filings listed donations that exceeded the legal limit, hundreds of thousands of dollars in unexplained spending and a strange string of expenses for $199.99 — just pennies below the threshold beyond which receipts are required," and that Marks could clear up questions for investigators.
Hanging over all of that are questions about the bookkeeper who is receiving increasing scrutiny due to her ties to Santos who has subsequently pinned his problems on her while accusing her of "going rogue."
"It will be up to investigators to determine whether Ms. Marks, 57, participated in any impropriety. But a review by The New York Times — including dozens of interviews and scrutiny of hundreds of pages of legal and campaign records — shows that even as her stature grew over two decades, Ms. Marks waded into ethically and legally murky territory," the repport states before adding, "But while the kind of egregious irregularities in Mr. Santos’s reports do not appear in other campaigns she worked on, The Times found that Ms. Marks’s accounting and business practices repeatedly drew suspicion. Former clients have taken her to court, saying she overpaid herself or failed to pay bills, as have a long line of creditors. Her close business ties with a felon alienated some one-time allies."
According to election lawyer Brett G. Kappel, "There are very fundamental errors that no accountant of her experience would make. If she submitted these knowing they contained false information, there are going to be consequences.”
"Mr. Santos is not the only client whose filings have drawn scrutiny. In late March, Mr. Zeldin amended years-old reports to clear up 21 payments of $199.99 to unnamed recipients during his 2020 House campaign. A review of his congressional filings shows that the Zeldin campaign also reported $110,000 in nonitemized spending that year, more than any sitting New York House member, apart from Mr. Santos." the Times is reporting before adding, "Earlier this month, the F.E.C. wrote to Ms. Marks ordering Mr. Zeldin to refund $129,000 in contributions he collected improperly in 2021 and 2022 and then transferred to his campaign for governor."
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