DOJ delivers 'clearest sign to date of an active criminal investigation' into George Santos: report
George Santos, R-N.Y., at a conference in Las Vegas last month. (Wade Vandervort/AFP)

The Federal Elections Commission has been more closely scrutinizing the campaign finances of scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos (R-NY), but it seems like they'll now have to take a backseat to the United States Department of Justice.

The Washington Post reports that the DOJ has asked the FEC to hold off on leveling any enforcement action against Santos, which the paper describes as "the clearest sign to date of an active criminal investigation examining the congressman’s campaign finances."

This is further evidenced by the fact that the DOJ has asked the FEC to hand over any relevant documents it has already obtained about Santos' campaign finances, which means that it's likely the department already has some prosecutors looking into the matter.

Questions about Santos' campaign financing first arose after The Daily Beast reported on how Santos used the company he founded, called the Devolder Organization, to loan his campaign $700,000.

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Although candidates can use unlimited amounts of their own personal wealth to fund their campaigns, they cannot use money from businesses they own on the grounds that it isn't their money and because such schemes would allow candidates to hide the origin of their funding.

Santos argued to The Daily Beast that what he did was legal because he is the sole owner of the Devolder Organization, despite the fact that his firm is legally distinguishable from his personal finances and is registered as an independent limited liability corporation in Florida, meaning he cannot legally tap it to fund his entire political operation.