Republican rising star Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) is under increasing fire for wholeheartedly endorsing now-Rep. George Santos (R-NY) and encouraging GOP donors to fund his campaign — only for them to find out they sent money to a fraud of epic proportions.
Santos is currently being buffeted by daily revelations about a startling number of lies about his background — from his religion to the supposed cause of death of his mother due to 9/11 and questions about where his money is coming from — and is now facing multiple investigations as he maintains his seat in the House.
Stefanik made a big splash endorsing the now-controversial Santos last August, posting on Twitter (see below): “MAJOR ENDORSEMENT ALERT Excited to endorse my friend and fellow America First conservative George Santos for Congress in #NY03. @Santos4Congress will take on NYC liberal elites and bring a new generation of GOP leadership to NY and America. He has my full support!”
Stefanik is now being swamped with questions about how and why she lent her name to such a flawed and embarrassing candidate — and donors want answers.
According to a report from CNN, those donors are lashing out at the newly-minted Republican House leader with one accusing her of not “doing her homework.”
CNN’s Pamela Brown and Gregory Krieg report, “Stefanik was a key validator for Santos in their shared home state and often touted the candidate in public and private forums. Several prominent GOP donors told CNN that they gave to Santos, who was largely unknown to them, because Stefanik, the state’s most influential elected Republican and a prolific fundraiser, backed him.”
According to Ken Salamone who contributed a combined $25,800 to elect Santos at Stefanik’s urging, “I would have never donated without Elise,” before adding, “I assumed she did her homework. I always do my homework and didn’t. Shame on me.”
Another contributed to Santos after he appeared at a luncheon with Stefanik who sang his praises, admitting to CNN, “he donated to George Santos because of Elise Stefanik’s endorsement.”
One Republican insider claimed the New York congresswoman has a lot to answer for.
“The source, who attributed Stefanik’s support of Santos to a lack of due diligence and not a willful concealment of information, also said that a top political aide for Stefanik was involved in campaigning for Santos. Multiple sources told CNN that aide was closely advising Santos’ campaign and involved in hiring people,” CNN is reporting.
A spokesperson for Stefanik disputed that in a statement that explained, “At no point did any staff for Congresswoman Stefanik work or advise this candidate.”
You can read more here.