Scott Applewhite Associated Press George Santos, in front of the Capitol, in Washington, May 17, 2023
Never two without three. On Friday, the chairman of the Ethics Committee of the United States House of Representatives, Republican Michael Guest, filed a resolution calling for the third time since the beginning of the year the expulsion of the Republican representative of the state from New York, George Santos.
This notorious liar and unrestrained confabulator has just been badly damaged by a damning report from a congressional investigative committee unveiled Thursday and revealing that the elected official, a strictly Trumpist, violated several federal criminal laws, before and since his taking office.
“Evidence uncovered by the investigative subcommittee [of the Ethics Committee] revealed that Representative George Santos cannot be trusted,” summarizes the report of 56 pages. “On almost every occasion, he placed his desire for personal gain ahead of his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law, and ethical principles. »
Arriving in Congress during the 2022 midterm elections, where he represents a voting district east of New York City, George Santos quickly stood out because of the many white threads that weave the story of his political rise. He claimed to be a wealthy and successful businessman, the grandson of Holocaust survivors, with a master's degree in business administration from New York University and having worked at Citi Group and Goldman Sachs. He said he owns more than a dozen properties and is the beneficiary of a family trust worth millions of dollars that his mother, who died years after the September 11 attacks due to health problems linked to that tragedy, gave him would have left.
“No part of this story turned out to be true,” summarizes the report of the investigative committee.
Worse, George Santos took advantage of his position as a representative and rising figure within the radical wing of the Republican Party to embezzle thousands of dollars from his campaign funds, in order to maintain the myth that he built, the extravagances of its daily life, and attract generous donors. His statements are “filled with lies designed to make him appear richer than he was and reinforced the fictional persona he had concocted by falsely reporting more than half a million dollars in loans to the state.” , we can read.
Ironically, Donald Trump is currently facing justice in New York State for almost similar reasons. He is accused of having overestimated the value of his real estate empire to benefit from more generous loans and to defraud insurance companies.
The House Ethics Committee also points out that several thousand dollars of George Santos' campaign funds were illegally diverted to personal expenses, for the purchase of luxury products – among others in an Hermès boutique -, “Botox”, for visits to spas, stays in an Atlantic City hotel and in a Las Vegas hotel, at a time when the MP told his staff he was “on his honeymoon”.
He also spent more than US$3,300 in one weekend on an Airbnb rental in the Hamptons, while he said he was on leave, and made “small purchases” on OnlyFans, a digital space specializing in the dissemination of adult content, specifies the report.
23 This is the number of criminal offenses of which George Santos is guilty.
In total, the representative was guilty of 23 criminal offenses, including unemployment insurance fraud of US$24,000 during the pandemic, while he held a paid job worth US$120,000. Last May, George Santos was indicted by the American courts for electronic fraud, money laundering, embezzlement of public funds and false statements to the House of Representatives. He pleaded not guilty.
On Thursday, the main interested party declared that he would not stand for re-election in 2024, but described the investigation report which now overwhelms him as “dirty”. “What the “ethics committee” did today was not part of due process, it is poison…” he said on the social network dirty and biased who violates all my rights. »
The motion calling for his expulsion from the House, where Republicans hold a slim majority, could be put to a vote in the last week of November. To date, George Santos has survived two expulsion attempts by his peers. If adopted, this motion would make him the sixth member expelled from the House of Representatives in the history of the United States, and especially the first to be expelled without having been convicted of criminal charges. It would also force a byelection in his district, a former Democratic stronghold, which he shifted to Republican hands in 2022.