Opinion | New York Republicans were right to call on George Santos to resign

Opinion | New York Republicans were right to call on George Santos to resign

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What passes for decency in the GOP today: Willingness to demand the resignation of an impulsive liar who falsified virtually his entire biography and possibly violated campaign finance laws.

It’s a low point, but let’s at least give a nod to the minimally responsible Republicans in New York willing to do this about Rep. George Santos (NY).

Santos is said to be under investigation by the US attorney’s office in Brooklyn and the district attorney in Nassau County on Long Island. He is also the subject of a Federal Election Commission complaint by the Campaign Legal Center.

The complaint alleges, “Santos alleged that he loaned his campaign $705,000 during the 2022 election.” But the complaint adds that “it is far from clear how he could have done this with his funds, because financial disclosure reports show that Santos had only $55,000 to his name in 2020, and his claims that he had earned millions of dollars in 2021 and 2022 from an alleged consulting business he started in May 2021, Devolder Organization LLC (‘Devolder LLC’), are vague, unsubstantiated and unreliable in light of his many previous lies. “

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The Santos campaign appears to have routinely falsified its disbursement disclosure. The campaign reported a staggering 40 disbursements between $199 and $200, including 37 disbursements of exactly $199.99. The large number of these disbursements of just under $200 is unacceptable, and some payments appear to be impossible given the nature of the item or service covered. Therefore, there is reason to believe that the Santos campaign intentionally falsified its disbursement reporting, among many other reporting violations.

Additionally, some of the reported disbursements made by the Santos campaign appear to violate federal laws prohibiting the conversion of campaign funds to personal use, including disbursements to pay rent on a candidate’s personal residence.

New York Democratic Reps. Ritchie Torres and Daniel S. Goldman have also filed a House ethics complaint against Santos. “Sir. Santos’ 2020 and 2022 financial disclosure reports are sparse and confusing. At the very least, it is clear that he did not file timely disclosure reports for his most recent campaign,” Goldman’s office explained in a statement. “In addition, his public statements have disputed certain information contained in the 2022 financial disclosure and confirmed that the 2022 financial disclosure failed to disclose other required information.”

A lawyer for Santos declined to comment on “open investigations.”

The good news is that a group of New York Republicans found these revelations so horrifying (or were so worried the stench would be wafting their way) that they called for his resignation. That includes (so far) Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Nicholas A. Langworthy, Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler and Brandon Williams, as well as Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo. Republican Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman has also called for Santos to step down. A group of leaders even asked him to leave.

One wonders why only New Yorkers seem to be troubled by egregious ethical problems. I suppose House Republicans from the other 49 states, with the notable exception of South Carolina’s Nancy Mace, have no shame — or just hope his continued presence doesn’t reflect on them.

For now, morally upright Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), who got Santos’ vote to become speaker of the House, is standing behind him. But McCarthy said he would not appoint Santos to any top committee. This is a strange decision: it is very dangerous to have him in office, for example, on the Judiciary or Foreign Affairs committees, but it is good to allow him to vote on bills that come out of those committees or to serve on the most little important? (It’s also interesting that Santos’ presence on a committee would signal that McCarthy thinks that committee is irrelevant.)

While New York Republicans calling for Santos’ resignation haven’t done anything extraordinary, they’ve done the right thing. For that, I think, we should say bravo.

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