Former Republican lawmaker George Santos has quickly found a way to make more money than he earned as a politician.
Sinceearlier this month, the embattled ex-member of the House has turned to Cameo, an app where celebrities and even disgraced public figures can charge hundreds or even thousands of dollars .
Santos, whose profile on the app calls himself a “Former congressional ‘Icon’!” along with a painted fingernail emoji and describes himself as “The expelled member of Congress from New York City,” is currently charging $400 per video.
Santos has raised his rate since he first appeared on the platform Monday, Cameo founder and CEO Steven Galanis told CBS MoneyWatch. “When he first came, on he’d priced himself at $75 because he didn’t have anyone assisting him. He limited his available quantity to 150 and sold out right away,” he said.
Santos still faces nearly two dozen federal charges for conspiracy, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and credit card fraud.
On Cameo, which was founded six years ago, more than 50,000 performers set their own rates. Fans can purchase videos to send to friends as gifts for any occasion. By comparison, actor Jim Belushi charges $100 per video, while actor and SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher charges $999.
Santos gradually upped his price, which is now set at $400 for a video that can take as little as one minute to record.
According to Galanis, Santos has booked enough Cameo videos to earn six figures, topping the $174,000 salary he earned as a member of Congress.
“Assuming he can get through the videos, he will exceed what he made in Congress last year. He’s been booked to that extent — he still needs to do the work,” Galanis said. “The response has been amazing, and he’s getting even more popular as the days go on.”
Galanis attributes Santos’ success not only to the avalanche of recent media coverage, albeit negative, but also to the quality of his videos. “He’s so in the news right now, and the people who have done best in Cameo history have been in the zeitgeist at the moment,” Galanis said.
Fans who had sprung for a video from Santos seemed pleased, writing comments such as, “This is gold!! Hope you’re enjoying your new gig,” and “Fantastic job – quick turnaround and great quality that exceeded my expectations” on Santos’ profile.
Sen. John Fetterman is among Santos’ customers. Campaign officials for the Pennsylvania Democrattrolling Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey. In the video, Santos tells “Bobby” to not get “bogged down by all the haters out there.”
Fetterman has been calling on Menendez, whom the Justice Department has accusedto act as a foreign agent for Egypt, to resign. Menendez has refused to do so.
for fast cash during the SAG-AFTRA strike. Signups on the app rose 137% in July, Galanis told CBS MoneyWatch at the time.