Gaetz says Santos will have to go through the congressional ethics process, but shouldn’t be shunned
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) said Saturday that Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) will have to face the congressional ethics process over fabrications about his background and questions about his finances, but should not be “shunned” by his fellow members of Congress.
“George Santos represents over 700,000 people in New York,” Gaetz told CNN’s Michael Smerconish. “And whether the people like it or not, those people deserve to have members of Congress who work with the person who serves them.”
Gaetz added that he does not want to judge Santos before the congressional ethics process has run its course.
“I think he deserves the opportunity to at least make his case,” the Florida Republican said.
Santos has faced calls to resign, including from within his own party, following revelations last month that he fabricated much of his resume. The first-term lawmaker admitted to lying about where he went to college and his previous professional experience during his campaign for Congress.
However, questions about Santos’ background go beyond his resume. During his unsuccessful bid for Congress in 2020, Santos reported a salary of $55,000 and no assets. However, just two years later, he loaned himself more than $700,000 for his 2022 campaign.
Gaetz asked Santos about the source of the $700,000 loan while hosting a recent episode of Steve Bannon’s “War Room” podcast. However, Santos dodged the question, saying simply: “I’ll tell you where it didn’t come from – it didn’t come from China, Ukraine or Burisma.”
The Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan ethics watchdog, filed a complaint against Santos with the Federal Election Commission earlier this week, accusing him of violating campaign finance laws.
“Especially in light of Santos’ mountain of lies about his life and qualifications for office, the Commission should thoroughly investigate what appear to be equally brazen lies about how his campaign raised and spent money,” the organization said in her complaint.
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Two House Democrats have also filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee over allegations that Santos submitted inaccurate financial information.
However, Santos has so far refused to resign. While some Republicans have called for him to step down, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has refused to call for his resignation, although he has not appeared particularly enthusiastic about the embattled congressman.
“He was chosen by the voters of his district. He is sitting. He’s part of the Republican conference,” McCarthy said Thursday.