A group of constituents in Rep. George Santos’ district traveled to the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to demand the congressman resign over grossly misrepresenting his background or for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to call a vote to expel him.
What You Need To Know
- A group of constituents in Rep. George Santos’ district traveled to the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday to demand the congressman resign over grossly misrepresenting his background or for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to call a vote to expel him
- Moments earlier, McCarthy confirmed for the first time that the House Ethics Committee is investigating Santos, R-N.Y.; McCarthy later clarified his remarks to say that Santos is the subject of ethics complaints
- McCarthy has repeatedly resisted calls to force Santos out of office by arguing that Santos was duly elected
- Voters from his district insisted during a news conference Thursday they would not have voted for Santos if he hadn't lied about himself
Moments earlier, McCarthy told reporters that the House Ethics Committee is investigating Santos, R-N.Y.
“Ethics is moving through, and if Ethics finds something, we’ll take action,” McCarthy told a group of reporters at the Capitol.
McCarthy later clarified his comments to say that Santos is the subject of ethics complaints.
"There are questions," McCarthy said. "I expect them to get answered."
McCarthy has repeatedly resisted calls to force Santos out of office by arguing that Santos was duly elected. The congressman’s long list of admitted and reported misrepresentations were exposed, first by The New York Times, only after the November election.
“The George Santos that was elected to represent New York [District] 3 is not the real George Santos, and he's deprived us of a real representative who can be trusted to serve us,” Aidan Davis, an 18-year-old constituent in Santos’ district, said during a news conference outside the Capitol.
Santos’ district covers a large swath of the western Long Island and parts of Queens.
Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., added at the event: “We have the voters who are here and we have information from lots more voters all around the district that clearly indicates that, if they had known about the lies and deception, they would have never voted for George Santos.
“If you're going to steal money from the bank by holding the bank up and you take the money and then you say, ‘Well, the bank gave me the money so it's OK’ — that's what Speaker McCarthy is saying,” Goldman continued. “He's saying that you can deceive the voters, you can defraud the voters, but as long as the voters voted for you, then it doesn't matter.”
Jody Kass Finkel, co-founder of the group Concerned Citizens of NY-03, said the constituents traveled to Washington because “Speaker McCarthy apparently cannot hear us when we speak from Long Island. So we had to come to Washington to make sure he hears us.”
“If the GOP is so concerned about election integrity, how about doing something about the con man who lied his way into the House and perpetrated the greatest fraud on the electorate in American history?” she said.
The constituent group was delivering petitions calling for Santos’ removal to members of Congress. Doing so would require a two-thirds vote by House members. The last House member to be expelled was Ohio Democrat James Traficant in 2002. Traficant was convicted of accepting bribes, racketeering and other charges.
“The residents of New York 03 are beyond frustrated with your inaction,” Kass Finkle said, directing her comments to McCarthy. “And I'm talking about both Democrats and Republicans.”
Santos has admitted to lying about major aspects of his biography, including his education and work history, but he has refused to resign. Last week, however, he announced he was temporarily stepping down from two congressional committees until his issues have been resolved.
Federal and local prosecutors are investigating whether Santos committed any crimes involving his finances or lies on the campaign trail, according to multiple reports and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office. Last month, a nonpartisan watchdog group filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging Santos violated multiple campaign finance laws.
Despite that he, along with Rep. Ritchie Torres, filed a complaint about Santos with the Ethics Committee, Goldman, D-N.Y., was not reassured by McCarthy’s revelation about the latest Santos inquiry because Goldman said it will only focus on financial issues, and not on Santos’ lies.
“Of the 535 members in Congress, there's no one who poses a greater threat to the integrity of the institution than George Santos,” said Torres, D-N.Y.
“He's the greatest fiction writer in the history of Congress.”
While only Democratic members of Congress spoke at the news conference, the group said many Republicans also want Santos removed.
The Nassau County Republican Party has called on Santos to resign. And a poll published last week by Siena College found that 78% of voters in Santos’ district — including 71% of Republicans — want Santos to step down.
“As a Republican, George Santos certainly does not represent my party,” Ben Marzouk, a voter in Santos’ district, said during Tuesday. “He has tarnished my district and created an embarrassment.”
A spokeswoman for Santos did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday about McCarthy’s remarks and the constituents’ efforts.
Among Santos’ other potential legal entanglements:
- On Friday, a former prospective aide to Santos sent a letter to the Ethics Committee requesting an investigation into Santos for allegedly sexual harassing him and improperly having him work as a volunteer for days while being promised future employment. Derek Myers also says he also filed a report with U.S. Capitol Police. Santos’ attorney declined to comment about the allegations Monday.
- A Navy veteran said last week the FBI has spoken to him about his allegations that Santos raised $3,000 for life-saving surgery for his dog but never handed over the money.
- Prosecutors in Brazil announced last month they intend to revive a 15-year-old check fraud case against Santos. The case had been suspended because police there were unable to locate him.