House Democrats file, hand-deliver ethics complaint to George Santos

House Democrats file, hand-deliver ethics complaint to George Santos

A pair of House Democrats on Tuesday filed and delivered to Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) a complaint asking the Ethics Committee to open an investigation into allegations that the former congressman failed to file reports on time, accurate and complete financial disclosure.

Reps. Ritchie Torres (DN.Y.) and Daniel Goldman (DN.Y.) filed an ethics complaint against Santos on Tuesday and delivered a copy of the six-page document to the New York Republican’s congressional office. Goldman knocked on Santos’ door and entered the office, leaving the complaint on a desk inside.

“To protect the integrity of federal ethics laws and the House itself, we respectfully request that you immediately undertake a full investigation into this matter of George Santos’ failure to timely and accurately file financial disclosure reports and immediately take all other necessary steps. to seek appropriate penalties and corrective actions,” the complaint states.

Lawmakers allege that Santos — who was sworn in to Congress early Saturday morning — violated the Government Ethics Act by failing to submit accurate and complete financial disclosure reports on time.

The pair settled on a series of allegations related to the congressman’s financial records, including his failure to file financial disclosure forms before the GOP primary, whether he properly reported interest income and whether he “engaged in fraudulent activity” through his company, the Devolder Organization.

The complaint draws attention to Santos’ disclosure that he earned more than $1 million in dividends from Devolder annually, noting that financial data firm Dun & Bradstreet estimates the company had revenue of $43,688 as of July 20, 2022.

Lawmakers also pointed to a discrepancy regarding the ownership of Santos’ properties in Rio de Janeiro. The financial form shows an apartment in Brazil, but he later admitted he had no property.

Torres, in remarks shortly after the complaint was filed, said the pair is asking the Ethics Committee to investigate Santos. If the panel finds the charges have merit, Torres said Santos should face disciplinary action.

Asked about the ethics complaint on Tuesday, Santos told reporters “they are free to do whatever they want to do.” Pushed if he’s worried, the congressman replied, “I’m not. I didn’t do anything unethical.”

“I didn’t,” he added, when asked if he thought he did anything wrong.

The Ethics Committee — which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans — must first decide whether to launch an investigation. It remains unclear whether he will do so.

Goldman told reporters Tuesday that the pair has heard from some Republicans who support an ethics investigation. He specifically mentioned Rep. Nick LaLota (RN.Y.), who has called for a full House Ethics investigation into Santos.

The complaint to the Ethics Committee is the latest development in the controversy surrounding Santos, who admitted to embellishing parts of his resume after news reports revealed widespread inconsistencies in his biography.

On Monday, the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission outlining what it says are violations of campaign finance laws. In addition, the New York Republican is already the subject of investigations led by the Eastern District of New York and the Nassau County District Attorney.

Additionally, a spokesperson for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office told the New York Times that it will file a formal request with the Justice Department to inform it that a 2008 criminal fraud case involving him is being reopened. .

Eight unsolved questions about George Santos

And, a group of four other House Democrats with national security backgrounds wrote a letter to Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Tuesday expressing concern about Santos’ “access to classified information and the appointment of possible on any congressional committee that could facilitate the use of this information,” citing his “fabricated” biography and other allegations.

Goldman and Torres cited the ongoing controversy — particularly his misleading biography — in the ethics complaint.

“Given the revelations about his biography, as well as the public information about his financial disclosures, Mr. Santos has hailed the preservation of integrity expected of members of the House of Representatives,” the complaint states. “We therefore respectfully request that you investigate this matter to determine the extent of these violations and take appropriate action as soon as possible.”

Democratic leaders also weighed in on the Santos scandal Tuesday morning, accusing McCarthy of demoting the controversial freshman for the sole purpose of padding McCarthy’s vote tally in last week’s marathon vote, which ultimately gave him the Speaker’s hand on the 15th ballot.

“He owns George Santos,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (Calif.), chairman of the Democratic Caucus, for McCarthy. “That’s the only reason he sat down, is to give George Santos that ability to vote for Kevin McCarthy.”

Aguilar said there “must be consequences” for Santos and called on state and federal law enforcement agencies — including the Federal Election Commission — to investigate.

“This is a very serious matter from someone who is clearly divorced from reality and common sense,” he said. “But that’s at the feet of Kevin McCarthy, not just George Santos.”

Mike Lillis contributed.

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