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Ethics panel formed to investigate Rep. George Santos

Areas include campaign finance, disclosure, conflicts of interest and sexual misconduct

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 25.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on Jan. 25. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it has launched an investigation into embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos to determine if he violated campaign finance laws when running for office, among other allegations.

The committee, which has the authority to recommend that a member be expelled, said in a news release it voted unanimously on Tuesday to establish an investigative panel to probe various allegations into Santos. The freshman congressman has admitted to falsifying and embellishing much of his resume on the campaign trail.

The panel will investigate whether Santos violated campaign laws during his 2022 run for Congress, failed to properly disclose required information to the House, violated laws prohibiting conflicts of interest in his past role at a financial firm and engaged in sexual misconduct with a job applicant for his congressional office.

The investigative panel will be led by Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, with Rep. Susan Wild, D-Penn., serving as ranking member, according to the Ethics Committee.

The establishment of the investigative panel “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred,” a committee statement adds.

Santos’ office tweeted Thursday that the congressman “is fully cooperating” with the Ethics Committee investigation and declined to comment further.

Santos, whose full name is George Anthony Devolder Santos, has come under heavy fire since a bombshell New York Times report in December revealed the New York Republican — who had decisively beat out his Democratic opponent in the Long Island district the month prior — had made false statements about his professional and personal background.

Those misrepresentations included claims that he had graduated from a university he never attended and worked at Wall Street firms where he was never employed.

The New York Republican has since drawn questions about how he raised his campaign funds, prompting a progressive watchdog group to file a complaint against him with the Federal Election Commission earlier this year.

According to a Politico report, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is also looking into accusations that the congressman scammed former U.S. servicemembers via a fake charity for veterans’ dogs.

Santos also was accused of having made an unwanted sexual advance to a former applicant of his congressional office, and then withdrawing the job offer after the advance was declined, according to news reports.

Santos has faced calls in Congress to resign, even from fellow New York Republicans. Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, both Democrats from New York, wrote a letter in January accusing Santos of failing to file disclosure reports on time and asking the Ethics Committee to investigate him.

A two-thirds vote is required for a member of the House to be expelled. Only five members have been expelled from the House in U.S. history, though others have resigned before any punitive actions could be taken against them.

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