Santos won't seek reelection following release of Ethics Committee findings

On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee released a damning report on the conduct of the much-maligned Rep. George Santos (R-NY). The bipartisan investigation confirmed that before and after Santos won a congressional seat in 2022, he engaged in numerous, federal counts of fraud, identity theft and campaign finance violations. The report also shed light on a sexual harassment case that was brought against the congressman. 

Such details regarding Santos’ legal charges were paired with a thorough indictment of his capacity for falsehoods about everything from the representative’s educational background to the nature of his mother's passing — whom he falsely claimed died as a result of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.   

Even members of his own campaign considered him a “fabulist,” whose penchant for telling lies was so concerning that he was encouraged to seek treatment.” In one such case, Santos claimed to subordinates that he owned a Maserati. Reader, he did not own a Maserati. 

The committee's main points of contention were Santos’ obfuscation of campaign funds, financial disclosure violations and his willingness to delay the ethics investigation. 

Santos, according to the report, “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.” He used campaign funds to pay rent, to purchase thousands of dollars of luxury goods, spend time in an Atlantic City Resort and receive cosmetic surgery. 

Additionally, Santos fudged countless financial disclosure documents that are required of congressional members. 

“These were not inadvertent lapses, but major errors and omissions, and the evidence compiled by the ISC demonstrates that they were knowing and willful actions as part of an ongoing ruse by Representative Santos to fabricate a wealthy persona, even after he was repeatedly put on notice of the failures and falsehoods relating to his required FD Statements,” the investigation found. 

The most novel findings, however, revolved around Santos’ alleged sexual harassment against a prospective congressional staffer, which the committee was unable to substantiate. It appears that a fellow grifter may have been trying to squeeze money out of the Santos circus:

“Testimony from witnesses contradicted Witness 10’s testimony about reviewing mail with the Congressman and being alone with him in his office,” the report reads. Concerns were raised “about Witness 10’s credibility and motivation in making the allegation based on other evidence reviewed during the investigation. For example, the ISC noted inconsistencies in Witness 10’s testimony, and he stated that he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his allegation in order to be paid by them for information regarding Representative Santos.”

The committee has yet to rule on what exactly the consequences of Santos’ actions will be when it comes to his standing in Congress, which declined to suggest expulsion — though Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS), who chairs the Ethics Committee, said he will file a motion to expel Santos. Such a maneuver that has failed twice already. 

The point may be moot, as Santos, who no longer has any congressional assignments, has now announced he will no longer seek reelection in 2024 following the release of the report. He did take to X (formerly known as Twitter) to author a long diatribe against the ethics report, which he called a “disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk. Everyone who participated in this grave miscarriage of Justice should all be ashamed of themselves.” 

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Jamie Larson