Long Island prosecutors have launched an investigation of US Rep. George Santos of New York after news that the now embattled Republican lied about his heritage, education and professional lineage during his presidential campaign.
But despite growing doubts about his eligibility for federal office, Santos has so far shown no signs of quitting — even after publicly admitting a long list of lies.
“The many fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congresswoman Santos’ election are staggering,” said Nassau County Attorney Ann Donnelly, a Republican.
“The people of Nassau County and other parts of the Third District need an honest and accountable representative in Congress,” she said. “No one is above the law, and if a crime is committed in this county, we will prosecute the perpetrators.”
Santos’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
for people in #NY03 I have my story to tell and it will be told in a week. I want to assure everyone that I will answer your questions and that I remain determined to achieve the results for which I campaigned; Public Safety, Inflation, Education and more
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The Republican has admitted to lying about his Jewish ancestry, Wall Street lineage and college degree, but has yet to address other lingering issues — including the source of the wealth that appears to be accumulating rapidly despite recent financial troubles, including evictions and thousands in unpaid rent. .
He is scheduled to be sworn in next Tuesday, when the US House of Representatives meets again. If he takes office, he could face investigations by the House Ethics Committee and the Justice Department.
The New York Attorney General’s office said earlier that it is looking into some of the cases that have been uncovered.
Republicans are not happy
Some fellow Republicans have called on Congress and law enforcement to open investigations. Long Island Republican Representative Nick Lalotta said he was troubled by the information.
“I believe a thorough investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, law enforcement, is required,” Lalota said Tuesday.
Other Republicans criticized Santos for dishonesty, but did not ask him to resign.
“Rep.-elect George Santos has lost the public’s trust by making grave mistakes regarding his background, experience, and education, among other things,” said Joseph Cairo, chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee, which operates in the 3rd congressional district.
Cairo said he “expects more than a blanket apology”, adding that “the harm that his lies have done to so many people, especially those affected by the Holocaust, is profound”.
Web of lies
The questions intensified after The New York Times examined the account Santos, 34, gave to voters during his successful campaign for a congressional district that stretches across the northern suburbs of Long Island and a small part of Queens.
The Times revealed documents in Brazil showing that Santos was the subject of a criminal investigation there in 2008 over allegations he used stolen checks to buy items at a clothing store in the city of Niteroi. At that time, Santos had just turned nineteen years old. The newspaper quoted local prosecutors as saying the case was dormant because Santos never appeared in court.
Santos continued to deny that authorities in South America were looking for him.
In an interview with the New York Post earlier this week, Santos apologized but downplayed his slurs as “sins” for embellishing his resume, adding, “We do stupid things in life.”
He admitted to lying about his work at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, as well as having a degree in finance and economics from Baruch College in New York.
Along with his autobiography, Santos has made up a life story that has also been called into question, including claims that his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during World War II.”
During his campaign, he called himself a “proud American Jew”. He backed down, saying he had never intended to claim Jewish heritage, which would have enhanced his appeal to Jewish voters in his district.
“I am a Catholic,” he told the newspaper. “Because I learned that my family was of Jewish origin, I said I was Jewish.”
In a statement released Tuesday, the Republican Jewish Alliance disavowed Santos.
“He deceived us and twisted his legacy. He has already claimed to be Jewish,” the Coalition said in public statements and to us personally. “He will not be welcome at any future event at the RJC. »
Santos lost his first election to Congress in 2020 but ran successfully again this year.
Missing red flags
In its search for dissent about Santos, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised several red flags about the Republican’s record — but has also accepted some of his claims, including his school record, as fact. The 87-page dossier sought to link him to the Jan. 6 insurrection on the US Capitol and his support for unsubstantiated allegations of widespread fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
The report also sought to portray him as an extreme right-wing candidate. But buried in its report, DCCC raised questions about his precarious financial situation and multiple evictions that left him thousands of dollars in debt.
Federal campaign records show he lent over $700,000 to his campaign, but the source of that money remains unclear.
“George Santos is delusional if he thinks voters will trust him after he has been exposed to lie after lie and continues to hide key information,” said Nebiat Petri, a spokeswoman for the Dubai Anti-Discrimination Centre.
While his Democratic opponent, Robert Zimmerman, also tried to blog Santos’ misrepresentations during his losing campaign, they never gained traction.
Zimmerman declared Santos unfit for office and demanded that he step down so that a special election could be held.