Nearly three months after it first emerged that George Santos had made up large parts of his biography—a biography that included grandparents who fled the Holocaust, a mother who was in the south tower on 9/11, and stints as a male model and a college volleyball star—the House Ethics Committee has finally decided to investigate the freshman representative. In addition to his long list of lies, the probe will look into allegations of campaign finances law violations, alleged sexual misconduct, and, we assume, the story, which he denies, about Santos allegedly ripping off a homeless veteran’s dying service dog.
In a statement, the House panel said its members voted unanimously to open a subcommittee to probe all things Santos, and to determine if the New York Republican “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.” The committee will be chaired by GOP representative David Joyce, with Democrat Susan Wild serving as ranking member.
On Twitter, someone from Santos’s office, or Santos, referring to himself in the third person, acknowledged the investigation and said they would not be commenting at this time.
The House investigation—which many people probably assumed had been launched already—comes on the heels of probes by everyone from the New York attorney general’s office to the Nassau district attorney’s office to the Queens district attorney’s office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In the case of the FBI, it is reportedly looking into allegations that Santos absconded with thousands of dollars from a GoFundMe that was set up to pay for the surgery of a homeless vet’s dog, which subsequently died after not receiving the treatment it needed. Speaking of Santos and dogs, it’s not clear if the House will be looking into the fact that he was also charged in 2017 with theft in a case involving Amish dog breeders, but maybe it should! (The charges were later dropped, though the lawyer that represented Santos now says she doesn’t buy his story.)
In addition to lies about his work history, educational background, grandparents, mother, being Jewish, having multiple employees who died in the Pulse nightclub shooting and about a million other things, there are significant questions about the source(s) of Santos’s campaign funds. For one thing, despite being evicted on more than one occasion, he apparently had $700,000 to freely lend. Meanwhile, a relative whose name was marked down next to a donation of $5,800 said they have no idea where that money came from.
Separately, Derek Myers, a prospective congressional staffer, filed a formal complaint with the House Ethics Committee last month accusing Santos of sexual misconduct, which allegedly involved the congressman touching his groin. (Santos has denied this.)
Despite robust calls from his district to resign, the congressman has insisted that he will finish his term—and may even run for a second! On Tuesday, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that he would have “difficulty“ supporting another Santos bid for office, though he didn’t categorically rule it out. “I think we’d have to see the election,” he said.
Speaking of McCarthy, in January, before the Ethics committee launched its investigation, he told reporters that should the panel find Santos had broken the law “we will remove him” from Congress. As USA Today noted at the time, “McCarthy could not by himself expel Santos from the chamber even if he wanted to—that would take a vote by two thirds of the House—but he could marshal his caucus for such a vote in the future.”