House Ethics Issues Report On Santos, Refers Him For Prosecution (VIDEO)
The long-awaited House Ethics Committee report on embattled and indicted Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has been released, containing “overwhelming evidence” of his misconduct.
“Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit,” it reads, as Politico’s Kyle Cheney reports.
“He blatantly stole from his campaign,” it continues. “He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit. He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign – and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported ‘repayments’ of those fictitious loans. He used his connections to high value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings. And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience.”
The Ethics Committee’s report does recommend Santos be criminally referred to the Dept. of Justice.
The report does not recommend his expulsion, the Republican Ethics Committee Chair says, claiming to do so would have taken more months for the report to be completed.
“We did not go through the longer process of coming forth and recommending sanctions because that would have taken several more months,” Chairman Michael Guest (R-MS) told reporters, Politico reported. “The information that we intend to release in the report, [we believe] that that will be enough for members to be able to make a decision as to whether or not they believe it would be proper to expel Rep. Santos.”
Chairman Guest says he expects the report will trigger another vote to expel Santos, but the report is being released as the House heads home for the Thanksgiving holidays, and will not return until Tuesday, November 28.
Even then, it’s unlikely Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) will prioritize a vote to expel a member of his own caucus, given his razor-slim majority, exemplified by having to rely on more Democrats (209) than Republicans (127) to pass his legislation to avert a government shutdown.
Santos is also facing 23 federal felony counts, including wire fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds, and lying to Congress.
According to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, those charges include, “one count of conspiracy to commit offenses against the United States, two counts of wire fraud, two counts of making materially false statements to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), two counts of falsifying records submitted to obstruct the FEC, two counts of aggravated identity theft, and one count of access device fraud, in addition to the seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the United States House of Representatives.”
United States Attorney Breon Peace said: “As alleged, Santos is charged with stealing people’s identities and making charges on his own donors’ credit cards without their authorization, lying to the FEC and, by extension, the public about the financial state of his campaign. Santos falsely inflated the campaign’s reported receipts with non-existent loans and contributions that were either fabricated or stolen.”
The federal charges don’t include all the falsehoods and lies Santos told during his two attempts to get elected to Congress. Last month, NEW YORK magazine detailed what it described as “Every Single Lie Told by George Santos.”
On Wednesday, CNN’s Manu Raju asked Santos about the Ethics Committee’s impending report.
“I’m staying in office for sure,” he said.
Santos added, “I will take whatever comes my way the way it comes. I have no concerns, and I don’t have any premeditated feelings on this.” (Since then Santos has said he will not run for reelection but will not resign.)
See the social media posts above and watch Santos’ remarks below or all at this link.
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.