At least seven state, federal and congressional bodies have received formal complaints or are said to be looking into struggling Rep. George Santos (RN.Y.) as he faces mounting questions about his background and finances.
The New York Republican admitted to embellishing parts of his resume.
Lawmakers on both sides have called for Santos to resign amid mounting controversy, but the congressman insists he has committed no crimes and remained intent on serving out his term representing New York’s 3rd congressional district.
“Let me be very clear, I’m not leaving, I’m not hiding and I’m NOT backing down,” Santos he wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “I will continue to work for #NY03 and no amount of Twitter trolling will stop me. Can’t wait to get what needs to be done, DONE!
Here are the groups that have received complaints or launched investigations into the MEP:
Groups investigating Santos
Nassau County District Attorney
The Nassau County District Attorney’s office announced it was looking into Santos in December, days after The New York Times released a report highlighting questionable aspects of the then-incoming congressman’s background.
Since then, more evidence has emerged showing Santos fabricated parts of his background, including claims about his religion, work history and education.
Asked for an update this week, the district attorney’s office — led by a Republican — deferred The Hill to his December filing.
“The many fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-elect Santos are nothing short of astounding,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said at the time. “Residents of Nassau County and other parts of the Third District must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress. No one is above the law and if a crime has been committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”
United States Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York
Several sources said in December that the U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York was looking into Santos’ finances and financial information.
That investigation now appears to include whether Santos was part of an alleged scheme to steal thousands of dollars from a fundraiser staged for a veteran’s dying guide dog.
Last month, US Navy veteran Richard Osthoff and retired police sergeant. Michael Boll told Patch.com that Santos helped raise money through a GoFundMe for Osthoff’s dog surgery. But the couple said once the fund hit $3,000, Santos closed it and disappeared.
Osthoff told Politico earlier this month that two agents, who work on behalf of the US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York, had contacted him about the incident. He gave agents text messages sent between him and Santos in 2016, according to Politico.
When asked about the Politico report earlier this month, Santos said “they clearly talk more to you guys than my legal team.”
“I can’t give you anything because they don’t talk to us,” he added.
The US attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York declined to comment this week when asked by The Hill whether the office has opened an investigation into Santos.
New York State Attorney General
The New York state attorney general’s office confirmed to The Hill that it is “looking into some of the issues that have been raised” about Santos, but declined to say which issues are under consideration.
Queens District Attorney
The Queens district attorney’s office told the Queens Chronicle in January that it was examining whether District Attorney Melinda Katz (D) has jurisdiction over any charges against Santos.
“While we obviously don’t comment on open investigations, we are examining whether Queens County has jurisdiction over any felony offenses,” Katz’s office told the outlet.
Reached for comment this week, the office told The Hill: “Our statement remains the same.”
Brazilian authorities have reportedly reopened a criminal investigation into Santos that dates back to 2008.
A spokeswoman for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office told the New York Times last month that she intended to formally request the Justice Department to serve Santos of the charges against him.
According to Brazilian court documents cited by the Times, Santos in 2008 – when he was 19 – stole a checkbook that belonged to a man his mother cared for. Santos then reportedly made illicit purchases totaling nearly $700, including a pair of shoes, using his checkbook and a fake name.
He admitted the crime to police in 2010, according to the Times, and in 2011 a judge approved a charge against him. The court and the Brazilian prosecutor told the newspaper that the case was still unsolved.
Santos told the New York Post in December, “I’m not a criminal here, here or in Brazil or in any jurisdiction in the world.”
Representative George Santos, RN.Y. on Jan. 6, 2023. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Groups likely to look into Santos
House Ethics Committee
The House Ethics Committee is widely expected to launch an investigation into Santos after receiving two complaints regarding the congressman. However, the panel has not yet officially organized itself, so it is unable to launch a probe.
In January, two New York Democrats — Congressmen Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman — filed an ethics complaint against Santos, accusing him of failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports.
The complaint focused on Santos’ claims that he earned more than $1 million in dividends from his company, the Devolder Organization, a year, noting that his financial data firm Dun & Bradstreet estimated the company had a revenue of $43,688 as of July 20. , 2022.
When asked about the complaint the morning it was filed, Santos said, “I haven’t done anything unethical,” adding that “they are free to do whatever they want.”
In a separate complaint to the Ethics Committee this month, a prospective Santos staffer accused the congressman of sexual misconduct. Derek Myers also called for an ethics investigation “into the violation of allowing a volunteer to work in the workplace and offloading work from paid staff members onto the volunteer with the promise of future employment.” He posted a copy of Ethics’ complaint on Thumorous.
Santos said he “one hundred percent” denies the sexual misconduct allegations, calling them “comic”.
Spokesman Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) stopped short of calling for Santos to step down, telling reporters last month, “If there’s a concern, and it has to go through ethics, let it do it”.
The spokesman caused a stir last week when he told CNN that the committee was investigating the congressman. Shortly thereafter, however, he backtracked on the complaint and said he meant complaints were filed against Santos.
“Are there any questions. I expect them to get a response,” he said when asked if he expects the commission to launch an investigation into Santos.
It is not clear when the Ethics Committee will officially organize and start work for the 118th Congress. Under House rules, committees must hold an open meeting at the start of a new Congress to set the rules before commencing official business.
In 2021 the panel held the organizational meeting on February 25, in 2019 it was held on February 27 and, in 2017, on March 9.
Groups that have received a complaint about Santos
Federal Election Commission (FEC)
The Campaign Legal Center – a nonpartisan ethical watchdog – filed a complaint against Santos with the FEC in January, alleging that the first-term congressman and his 2022 campaign committee violated federal campaign finance laws .
The group accused Santos of taking part in a straw donor scheme to hide the sources of a loan he made to his campaign, of intentionally falsifying the numbers on his disclosure reports and of misusing funds from his campaign. campaign for personal reasons.
Asked this week whether the agency has opened an investigation into Santos, the FEC told The Hill it “is unable to disclose any information about a potential or existing enforcement issue until the matter has been resolved.” ” due to “confidentiality requirements surrounding running processes.”
But late last month, The Washington Post reported that the Justice Department asked the FEC to refrain from taking enforcement action against Santos, as prosecutors were working on a similar criminal investigation. The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section filed the request, two people familiar with the matter told the Post.
The Justice Department also asked the FEC to turn over all relevant documents, according to the Post.