The House Ethics Committee is formally investigating Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), members of the panel have confirmed.
That adds to the investigations Santos was already facing, evidently including at the Justice Department. Reports have outlined interest by department personnel in both the finances of his campaign and him seemingly taking thousands of dollars originally raised in support of a veteran’s sick dog, who subsequently died. That veteran said FBI agents sought copies of his communications with Santos, who has gone by different versions of his name in the past. The vet provided the agency the materials.
At the House panel on ethics, investigative interest extends to at least four areas, including whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office,” as the committee explained. His past financial disclosure forms filed with the House when still a candidate have garnered scrutiny for not including details like identifying info for clients with whom he allegedly did business through his company, the Devolder Organization. Several such client companies were subsequently found by The Daily Beast to have been connected to individuals who separately provided donations in support of Santos’s runs for office.
House Speaker Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has previously indicated he’d support removing Santos from the House if the ethics panel found he broke the law. It’s already clear there is reason to worry, though, since he basically lied his way into office, nearly or entirely fabricating entire portions of his resume and claims about his personal background — even including that grandparents of his who it doesn’t seem were even born in Europe survived the Holocaust. As for his 2022 campaign, there have been questions about his campaign’s spending habits and, among other things, the origin of hundreds of thousands of dollars originally identified as personal loans for the campaign from the candidate. Might that money have been funneled from somebody else in support of Santos’s attempt to gain office? What about the evidence suggesting campaign cash went towards rent payments at a residence where he lived? Spending on candidates’ personal expenses like rent generally isn’t allowed.