NEW YORK (AP) — Republican Rep.-elect George Santos of New York, who is accused of lying about large swathes of his background and accomplishments, will have to wait to add one thing for certain to his resume: Congressman American.
Santos arrived in Washington to be sworn in on Tuesday, but his swearing-in was delayed after Republicans who control the House failed in several rounds of voting. to elect a speaker. New members cannot be sworn in until a speaker has been chosen.
Santos, who faces spiraling investigations from federal and local prosecutors over his campaign spending and lies about his family background, resume and education, declined to answer questions from reporters inside and outside the Capitol, including a question about his intention to resign. Santos sat alone on the Republican side of the House during Tuesday’s votes, largely keeping to himself and staring at his phone.
He joined most Republicans in supporting Kevin McCarthy as speaker, but McCarthy fell short of the majority needed to claim the gavel. Voting ended for the day after three rounds on Tuesday and was due to resume on Wednesday.
Initially, the victory of Santos, an openly gay Republican who flipped a Long Island House seat held by Democrats for a decade, was seen as one of his party’s bright spots in an otherwise midterm election. disappointing. But as reports began to emerge that he had lied about his Jewish ancestry, a career at top Wall Street companies and a college degree, Santos turned into a distraction and an embarrassment to the party as he prepares to take control of the House.
While some fellow Republicans have called for ethics investigations or Santos’s resignation, House GOP leaders including McCarthy have notably remained silent. For his part, Santos apologized for his fabrications but downplayed them as “sins” by embellishing his resume, telling the New York Post that “we do stupid things in life.”
Santos’ financial disclosure forms show he amassed a quick fortune despite recent financial troubles and spent large amounts of campaign funds on travel and hotels.
Federal prosecutors in New York have begun reviewing Santos’ background and financial dealings, a person familiar with the matter said. The Associated Press.
The New York attorney general’s office said it was looking into the allegations about Santos, while local prosecutors’ offices in Queens and Long Island also said they were looking into whether Santos broke any laws.
Court records in Brazil, first uncovered by The New York Times, show Santos faced a criminal charge for using two stolen checks in 2008, when he would have been 19, to buy approximately $1,350 worth of items from a clothing store in Niteroi town, including a pair of sneakers he gave to a friend.
Santos, in a signed confession, admitted to stealing his mother’s former employer’s checkbook from her purse and making purchases, according to court documents reviewed by the AP.
A judge accepted the charges against Santos in 2011, but subsequent subpoenas asking him to appear personally or present a written defense went unanswered. With authorities repeatedly unable to determine his whereabouts, the case was suspended in 2013. But in a statement released on Tuesday, prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro said that now that Santos’ whereabouts were known, they would ask for the case to be reopened. State courts are on vacation until Friday.
Democrats in Congress are expected to pursue several avenues against Santos, including a potential complaint to the Federal Election Commission and the introduction of a resolution to expel him once he is a serving member.
Through 2020, Santos had no assets and income of $55,000 from LinkBridge Investors, according to financial disclosure statements filed with the Clerk of the House.
Two years later, in a similar filing, Santos reported revenues of between $1 million and $5 million for 2022 and 2021, all from the Devolder organization, in which he wholly owned. He described the entity as a “capital introduction advisory firm”.
Federal campaign records show he loaned more than $700,000 to his campaign.
The North Shore Leader, a Long Island newspaper, raised questions ahead of the election about Santos’ finances and campaign spending, a report little noticed at the time. By announcing that he approved of his adversarythe newspaper cited Santos’ behavior and called him “sleazy” and “probably just a fabulist – a fake”.
But his statements about his background, financial disclosures and campaign spending didn’t attract attention until December, when The New York Times examined the narrative that Santos presented to voters during his campaign.
Santos has since admitted to lying about working for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, as well as earning a degree in finance and economics from Baruch College in New York.
Beyond his resume, Santos has made up a life story that has also been questioned, including claims that his grandparents “fleed Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and had many families.” again fled persecution during World War II.
During his campaign, he called himself a “proud American Jew.”
He backtracked on that claim, saying he never intended to claim Jewish heritage, which might have increased his appeal among the prominent ranks of Jewish voters in his district.
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos told the Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learned that my maternal family was of Jewish origin, I said that I was “Jewish”.
Associated Press reporters Michael Balsamo in Washington, Bobby Caina Calvan in New York, and David Biller and Diane Jeantet in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this report.