The House Ethics Committee said in a scathing report Thursday that it had gathered “overwhelming evidence” of law violations by the Republican representative. George Santos of New York that was sent to the Justice Department, concluding categorically that he “cannot be trusted” after a months-long investigation into his conduct.
Shortly after the panel’s report was released, Santos called it in a tweet on X a “politicized smear” but said he would not seek re-election to a second term. He gave no indication he would step down before his term ends next year, promising to continue his “conservative values during his remaining time in Congress.”
But a renewed effort to expel him of the House was quickly launched. The House could vote on expelling him as soon as he returns from the Thanksgiving holiday later this month.
The panel said Santos knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; and violated the Ethics in Government Act by filing financial disclosures with the House.
The ethics committee’s report also details Santos’ lack of cooperation in his investigation and how he “evaded” requests for direct information. “Representative Santos’ lack of candor during the investigation itself was particularly troubling,” the committee determined.
The information he provided, the commission said, “included significant inaccuracies that further reinforced the lies he told during his 2022 campaign.”
The report says an investigative subcommittee decided to forgo taking action that would have led to a lengthy hearing on sanctions by the full ethics committee, after which the committee could make recommendations on sanctions to the entire House. Instead, he urged House members “to take whatever action they deem appropriate and necessary” based on the report.
The findings of the investigative committee are perhaps the least of Santos’ worries. The MP faces a 23-count federal indictment who alleges he stole the identities of campaign donors and then used their credit cards to make tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges. Federal prosecutors say Santos, who pleaded not guiltytransferred part of the money to his personal bank account and used the rest to replenish his campaign coffers.
Santos, who represents parts of Queens and Long Island, is also accused of falsely reporting to the Federal Election Commission that he had loaned his campaign $500,000 when in reality he had given nothing and that he had less than $8,000 in the bank. The fake loan was intended to convince Republican Party officials that he was a serious candidate, worthy of their financial support, the indictment says.
The Justice Department declined to comment on the ethics report, as did the Brooklyn U.S. attorney’s office, which is handling the case against Santos.
Earlier this week, a former fundraising for Santos pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge, admitting that he posed as a high-ranking congressional aide while raising campaign funds for the embattled New York Republican.
Santos easily survived a vote earlier this month to expel him from the House, with most Republicans and 31 Democrats opting to withhold punishment while his criminal trial and House Ethics Committee investigation Room continued.
Expulsion, the harshest form of punishment, has occurred only five times in House history — three times during the Civil War for disloyalty to the Union and twice after convictions on federal charges , the last in 2002.