(CNN) Rep. George Santos has named himself treasurer of his campaign committee, marking the latest twist in a months-long saga of confusing filings his campaign has made with federal regulators.
The new filing, filed late Friday afternoon with the Federal Election Commission, comes a little more than a week after federal prosecutors unsealed a 13-count criminal indictment charging the New York Republican with fraud, fraudulently obtaining Covid- 19 unemployment benefit and lying. about his personal finances on forms he submitted to the US House of Representatives as a candidate. He has pleaded not guilty and pleads not guilty to the charges.
Santos defended the move on Saturday, saying it was to “ensure compliance.”
“My intention is to work above reproach,” the first-year lawmakers said Twitter. “We will continue to build our campaign around professionals with subject matter expertise.”
He added that the FEC records will be updated to reflect the change.
Questions have long swirled about the identity of Santos’ campaign treasurer. This year, Santos’ campaign named a new treasurer identified as Andrew Olson, but federal and state records did not show that anyone by that name served as treasurer for any other federal or political committees operating in New York state.
At the time Olson was added as treasurer, the address associated with him and Santos’ campaign was that of a mixed-use apartment and commercial building in Elmhurst, New York, where the congressman’s sister had lived until earlier this year.
Earlier this month, the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission questioning Olson’s existence and asking the agency to investigate whether the campaign had potentially violated campaign finance laws with filings listing that person as treasurer.
Political committees may not raise or spend money without a treasurer. Candidates can legally serve as treasurers for their own campaigns, but it is rare for them to do so.
In his short time in Washington, Santos’ campaign filings have come under intense scrutiny. They range from questions about dozens of campaign expenses listed at $199.99 — a penny below the threshold for which campaigns are required to keep receipts — to confusion about who filed for the treasurer’s role.
On Jan. 25, for example, Santos’ campaign named a political consultant from Wisconsin to replace the congressman’s longtime treasurer Nancy Marks. But the consultant’s lawyer said the campaign had done so without his permission and that his client had turned down the job.
Then, on January 31, Marks informed the FEC that she had resigned. Later that day, Olson’s electronic signature first appeared on a Santos report.
Santos has previously claimed that the applications were not his responsibility.
“I’m not touching any of my FEC stuff, am I?” he told CNN back in January. “So don’t be disingenuous and report that I did it because you know every campaign hires fiduciaries.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Andrea Cambron contributed to this report.