N.Y. Democratic colleagues request House ethics probe of Rep. Santos

N.Y. Democratic colleagues request House ethics probe of Rep. Santos

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Rep. George Santos (R), who has admitted to fabricating key details of his biography, is the target of a new ethics complaint filed by two of his fellow Democrats in New York’s congressional delegation, Reps. Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman .

In a letter to the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday, Torres and Goldman detailed inconsistencies in Santos’ biography — saying he misled voters about “his ethnicity, his religion, his education and his employment and his history professional, among others” – and in the financial declaration forms.

The two Democrats described Santos’ disclosure forms as “rare and confusing,” noting that his public statements have contradicted some of the information he reported on the forms.

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

Santos told reporters Tuesday that he is not concerned about the ethics complaint. “I am not, I have not done anything unethical,” Santos said, according to the Hill, adding that his colleagues in New York are “free to do whatever they want to do.”

The letter is the latest call for an investigation of Santos by various entities.

A complaint filed Monday by the nonpartisan Campaign Legal Center with the Federal Election Commission accused Santos of widespread campaign finance violations. The alleged wrongdoing includes disguising the true source of his campaign funding, misrepresenting his campaign expenses, and using campaign resources to cover personal expenses.

The congressman’s fraud has sparked an investigation by the district attorney’s office in Nassau County, N.Y. Authorities in Brazil are also seeking to revive a fraud case against Santos that dates back to 2008.

As investigations into Santos mount, questions about how his campaign raised and spent money are coming into focus.

He reported loaning his campaign more than $700,000 in the 2021-22 cycle, despite having only $55,000 in earned income during his previous run for Congress in 2020, according to a financial disclosure. The Campaign Legal Center called his claims of earning millions over the previous two years from the Devolder Organization “vague, unsubstantiated and unbelievable in light of his many previous lies”.

Asked Tuesday whether Santos should be a member of Congress, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) said the matter was being handled “internally.”

“Well, you saw him sitting last week,” Scalise said at a news conference. “There was no challenge to it. This is something that is being dealt with internally. Naturally, there were concerns about what we had heard. And so we’re going to have to sit down and talk to him about it. And that’s something we’re going to deal with, just like there’s a lot of other things we’re going to deal with.”

The House Ethics Committee is a bipartisan panel. It was unclear whether an investigation would be launched into the complaint. A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At a news conference Tuesday, Democrats suggested that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was hesitant to take action against Santos because he needed his vote to become speaker last week.

“Kevin McCarthy owns George Santos,” said Rep. Pete Aguilar (California), chairman of the Democratic caucus of the House of Representatives, at a press conference. “If George Santos hadn’t sat down, what would have been the math for Speaker McCarthy?”

McCarthy narrowly won the speakership after 15 rounds of voting early Saturday morning.

“There should be consequences,” Aguilar said of Santos’ misrepresentations. “State and federal governments and law enforcement agencies should look into it. of [Federal Election Commission] we need to look into this… This is a very serious matter from someone who is clearly divorced from reality and mindset. But that’s at the feet of Kevin McCarthy, not just George Santos.”

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