Updated Aug 18, 2023, 8:41am EDT

Santos aide’s secret identity

Semafor/Joey Pfeifer

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His alias was Reyem Nad.

That’s the name a fired fundraiser for the indicted George Santos, R-N.Y. used when he pretended to be a donor to get a meeting with Santos, according to three people familiar with the incident.

The former aide, Samuel Miele, was himself indicted Wednesday for a different incident: impersonating then-GOP Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff, Dan Meyer, to solicit donations.

Reyem Nad is “Dan Meyer” backwards.

“He was like, ‘I want to max out to George. I’m a big fan. I want him to meet him at Capitol Grill,’” Santos communications director Gabby Lipsky told Semafor of an email she received from Miele last August. He proposed he meet Santos at a New York City restaurant to give him a check. She said the request “seemed fishy” because donors typically have a pre-existing relationship with either the finance team or the candidate.

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Lipsky said after Miele insisted on scheduling the lunch meeting, she used his cell phone number to get the name on the reservation at STATE Bar & Grill inside the Empire State Building, where the person answering the phone confirmed the reservation was under Samuel Miele. The team then set up a sort of bait-and-switch operation in which two of Santos’ allies showed up instead of him.

Miele, when contacted by phone, declined to comment.

Miele faces a 4-count indictment for fraud and aggravated identity theft related to a scheme to solicit donations under false pretenses in the unrelated McCarthy scheme. Court documents say Miele impersonated “person #1” on the phone and through email with potential donors for the purpose of soliciting financial contributions. The indictment doesn’t name Santos or Meyer, but other outlets have previously reported Miele impersonated a top McCarthy aide.  

Miele has also worked with Tina Forte, who is challenging Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., after an unsuccessful bid against the progressive firebrand in 2022, and Josh Eisen, a former congressional candidate who owns a background-check business.

Santos is facing his own 13-count indictment, charged with fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and making false statements to the House of Representatives. He pleaded not guilty in May and is expected back in court on Sept. 7.