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George Santos said he would not seek re-election in 2024, hours after a US congressional committee published a months-long investigation into the controversial Republican congressman from New York and said there was “substantial evidence” that he had violated federal law.
The House ethics committee, which is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, said on Thursday that the conduct by Santos “warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House”.
But the panel stopped short of recommending his removal from the lower chamber of Congress, and said it was referring its findings to the Department of Justice.
Several lawmakers, however, suggested they would make a renewed push to expel Santos from the House. The congressman has survived several attempts to vote him out of the chamber.
The committee’s sprawling report detailed what lawmakers described as a “complex web of unlawful activity involving Representative Santos’ campaign, personal, and business finances”. The panel said the congressman had tried to “fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit”.
A 56-page report from lawmakers who spearheaded the investigation described several eyebrow-raising expenditures, including his use of campaign funds to pay for Botox.
The committee also reported that a limited liability company linked to the campaign of Santos transferred tens of thousands of dollars to the congressman’s personal accounts, with funds used to make purchases at Hermès, Sephora and OnlyFans, the online platform used by sex workers.
It also alleged that as a congressional candidate, Santos misrepresented his finances in disclosure forms, including listing fake bank accounts, real estate investments, and a car loan for a Maserati that he did not appear to own.
Santos responded to the report on Thursday on social media, calling the committee’s findings “biased” and accusing the panel of “smear[ing]” him and his legal team.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed,” Santos said in a post on X. But he added that he would not be seeking re-election in 2024, saying: “My family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”
Santos is the subject of a wide-ranging criminal investigation, and is facing nearly two dozen federal criminal charges, including accusations of fraud, money laundering, theft of public funds and making false statements to the House of Representatives.
He was arrested and charged with 13 counts in May, and another 10 counts were made public in October. Santos, who was elected to Congress in last year’s midterm elections, has pleaded not guilty to all charges and repeatedly rejected calls for him to resign. Earlier this year, he said he intended to run for re-election in 2024.
Santos represents New York’s third congressional district, which includes parts of Queens and Nassau County, on Long Island. He has been a controversial figure since media reports shortly after his election revealed that he had fabricated large parts of his CV, including his educational qualifications, his religion, his work experience and his marital status.
But House Republicans — who control the chamber by a razor-thin margin — have been loath to expel him from Congress, and earlier this month Santos easily survived an expulsion attempt.
It is rare for a member of the House to be expelled from Congress. Doing so requires the support of a supermajority, or two-thirds, of the chamber.
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