Rep.-elect George Santos admitted to several lies about his background, credentials, and income, sparking a criminal investigation and causing massive headaches for House Republicans.
Rep.-elect George Santos admitted to several lies about his background, credentials, and income, sparking a criminal investigation and causing massive headaches for House Republicans in the middle of Kevin McCarthy’s speakership fight.
- The New York Times published an exposé into the New York Republican’s background shortly before Christmas. Their investigation revealed, among other things, that Santos was wanted for a criminal charge in Brazil, had made potential omissions on his financial disclosures, could not verify his past jobs, and was evicted for owing thousands in back rent.
- Santos confessed to the New York Post on Monday that he had lied about his education and work experience but insisted “I am not a criminal.” In the interview, Santos claimed he would not be deterred from “having good legislative success. I will be effective. I will be good,” he said.
- The congressman-elect from Long Island, 34, admitted that he did not work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup as he claimed and that he did not in fact graduate from Baruch College or “from any institution of higher learning.” Santos’ explanation? “We do stupid things in life.”
- Santos also admitted he had lied about his family’s Jewish history. He claimed to be a “proud American Jew” during the campaign, but after the election told the Post he was “clearly Catholic”, and he had “never claimed to be Jewish.” The Republican Jewish Coalition condemned Santos on Tuesday for having “deceived us and misrepresented his heritage.”
- In a Fox News interview with Tulsi Gabbard, Santos struggled to explain away his “blatant lies,” as Gabbard put it, and tried to deflect from his own actions by pointing to Democrats. Gabbard asked him at one point, “My question is, do you have no shame?”
- Santos’ victory in a Democratic-leaning Long Island district was considered a bright spot for Republicans on an otherwise disappointing election night. Santos made history as the first gay non-incumbent Republican elected to the House.
- The Santos scandal presents a special problem for McCarthy, who only has four votes to spare in his quest to become Speaker and already has five Republicans publicly opposed to his speakership bid. So far, McCarthy has remained silent about Santos’ admitted lies about his past.
- Anne Donnelly, the Republican District Attorney of Nassau County, which lies in Santos’ district, said Wednesday she would investigate Santos for possible criminal violations.
- The New York Republican is set to be sworn in on Tuesday and could find himself subject to investigations from the House Ethics Committee and the Justice Department shortly after his swearing-in.
- Santos hasn’t said much publicly since his disastrous Gabbard interview, but one Republican “familiar with the discussions [by House Republican leadership]” told POLITICO Santos has already told New York Republican leaders he won’t seek reelection to the House.
- Robert Zimmerman, Santos’ Democratic opponent, called on him to resign his seat and run in a special election to “face the voters with your real past.”
- Two incoming House Republicans from New York, Reps.-elect Nick LaLota and Mike Lawler, called on Santos to come clean about his background. Lawler tweeted, “Santos owes the people of his district the complete and total truth about his personal and professional background, and a sincere apology for his behavior.”
- Santos’ $700,000 loan to his campaign may have been illegal, The Daily Beast reported. It is not clear where the money came from given Santos’ many lies about his background and income, and if the $700,000 came from Santos’ company that could constitute an unlawful corporate donation.
- Santos filed disclosures during his losing 2020 campaign listing no assets and a $55,000 salary before suddenly reporting a net worth between $3.5-11.5 million, according to Semafor. In an interview, Santos offered some answers but left key questions about his finances unanswered.
- Given the sheer number of false claims Santos made, the Washington Post helpfully broke down his lies by category and examined how his claims during the campaign stack up against what is now known.
- National Review’s Jim Geraghty pointed out that although “Democrats are gargantuan hypocrites when it comes to a political figure’s lying about his background” – namely, the many falsehoods of Joe Biden – but the intensely sketchy nature of Santos’ finances is a legitimate cause for concern. Geraghty notes it “isn’t outlandish speculation” to consider that Santos’ mysterious millions may have come from a foreign power.
- The Washington Examiner quoted at length the Nassau County district attorney investigating Santos. D.A. Donnelly said in a statement, “The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning. The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress.”
- The Wall Street Journal noted it was not immediately clear the potential state crimes Santos might have committed during his 2022 House campaign, and the district attorney’s office refused to comment further.
© Dominic Moore, 2022