Amidst the fallout of a damning report by the House Ethics Committee, Rep. George Santos from New York has announced that he will not seek reelection in 2024. The scathing report found “substantial evidence” that Santos “violated federal criminal laws,” including the misuse of campaign funds for personal purposes and filing false campaign reports.
Santos addressed the issue on social media, stating, “I will continue to serve my constituents until allowed. However, I will NOT be seeking re-election in 2024 as my family deserves better than constant press scrutiny.”
The Ethics Committee’s extensive 56-page report revealed a web of unlawful activities involving Santos’ campaign, personal, and business finances. The report accused Santos of exploiting his House candidacy for personal financial gain, including fraudulent use of campaign funds, deceptive practices with donors, and reporting fictitious loans to induce more contributions.
The report also highlighted Santos’ use of political connections to enrich himself, sustaining a pattern of lies to constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience. Additionally, Santos was reported to be frequently in debt, maintaining an abysmal credit score, and relying on high-interest credit cards for luxury spending, with large cash deposits and withdrawals of almost a quarter million dollars for unspecified purposes.
Specifically, the report detailed suspicious campaign expenditures, including spending at high-end stores, luxury Airbnb stays, Botox treatments, and even subscriptions to adult content sites.
The Ethics Committee is referring its findings, including “uncharged” conduct, to the Justice Department, without making a recommendation to the House.
Efforts to expel Santos from Congress have gained momentum, with Ethics Chairman Michael Guest planning to file a resolution for expulsion. Democrats are also preparing their expulsion resolutions.
The report has swayed some members who previously opposed expulsion. Several representatives, including Democrats and Republicans, who voted against expulsion earlier are now expressing their intent to vote for removal based on the evidence presented in the report.
Santos, who is already facing federal charges, including identity theft and money laundering, is set to go on trial in September and has pleaded not guilty. The Ethics report follows the recent guilty pleas of Santos’ former campaign fundraiser and treasurer, further intensifying the legal challenges he faces.
Despite calls for his resignation, Santos remains steadfast, emphasizing his commitment to defending his name. The Ethics Committee noted that Santos did not cooperate with the investigation, providing limited responses with “misstatements” and “falsehoods.” The report concluded that Santos’ testimony would have “low evidentiary value given his admitted practice of embellishment.”
While Santos was exonerated in the aspect of sexual harassment allegations during the investigation, the overall report paints a grim picture of a representative engaging in widespread financial misconduct, further clouding his political future.