Representatives Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres, both New York Democrats, filed a formal complaint Tuesday asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate Republican Representative George Santos, who admitted to lying about his past after a report appeared in The New York last month. they will be found. Times.
Members of Congress will ask the House committee to investigate whether Mr Santos, a first-class MP representing parts of Long Island and Queens, broke the law by submitting the required financial disclosures late and without important details of his finances.
“The House of Representatives has an obligation to oversee itself, and this is just the beginning of our duty to hold George Santos accountable to his constituents and to the American people,” said Mr Goldman, a former federal prosecutor representing parts of Lower Manhattan. Brooklyn said in a statement.
The complaint by Mr Goldman and Mr Torres, filed days after Mr Santos was sworn in, puts considerable pressure on a fledgling MP already surrounded by controversy and facing calls for his resignation.
Mr. Santos entered Congress with scrutiny by both lawmakers and the public last week after The Times uncovered inconsistencies in his past, found gaps in his financial statements and asked questions about campaign spending. Federal and local prosecutors said they were investigating whether Mr Santos had committed any crimes related to his finances or lied on his campaign trail.
On Monday, the Campaign Legal Center, a monitoring group, filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, accusing Mr.
Mr Santos admitted to lying to voters about his education and professional background in interviews with prominent news media outlets, but admitted that he only “decorated” his resume. His attorney, Joe Murray, said in a statement that his campaign spending did not violate any campaign finance laws.
More on the George Santos Debate
- Behind the Investigation:The Times reporters Michael Gold and Grace Ashford discuss how a number of manufacturers were elected to Congress and discovered that he was a fraud.
- go to Washington :Despite being under scrutiny for lies about his past, George Santos brings his saga to Capitol Hill, where he will face significant pressure from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
- Encountered Questions :Federal and local prosecutors are investigating whether Mr. Santos has committed crimes or made false statements regarding his financial situation.
- Embroidered R summaries :While other politicians have misled the public about their past, few have done so as widely as Mr Santos.
However, Mr. Santos did not address the lack of information in the financial disclosure forms he submitted to the House clerk during his campaign. Although candidates are required to submit their forms by 15 May of the election year, Mr. Santos did not submit their forms until September.
In his disclosure, Mr. Santos reported that his company, Devolder Organization, paid him a salary of $750,000, with a total dividend of between $1 and $5 million. However, he did not elaborate on the clients that could have helped his company earn such a large sum, which is in clear violation of the requirement to disclose any compensation in excess of $5,000 from a single source.
The son of Brazilian immigrants, Mr. Santos, also reported that he owns a $1 million flat in Rio de Janeiro. But he told the New York Post last month that he doesn’t own any property and did not provide further details about the property in Brazil.
Mr. Goldman and Mr. Torres said they wanted the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether Mr Santos’ application violated the Government Ethics Act, an anti-corruption law enacted after the Watergate scandal of the 1970s because it was “timely, accurate and complete.”
Mr Torres, who represents a division of the Bronx, said in a statement that Mr Santos “claimed to have made millions of dollars from clients he served, but did not disclose the names of those clients, in violation of federal law. ”
Mr Goldman and Mr Torres aren’t the only lawmakers pushing for a House ethics probe. Last month, Representative Nick LaLota, a first-term Republican who, like Mr. Santos, represents Long Island, called for “a full investigation by the House ethics committee and, if necessary, law enforcement” into Mr Santos’ conduct.
The ethics committee, a bipartisan committee of lawmakers who enforce the chamber’s internal rules, is not known for imposing significant penalties. Congress rarely takes serious disciplinary action against other members unless their conduct has escalated to the level of a federal crime.
Government watchdog groups often criticize the body for moving too slowly. Jordan Libowitz, spokesman for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a nonprofit group, said the committee would “prefer that people resign or their sentences end” rather than punish incumbent lawmakers.
But Mr. Libowitz said Mr Torres and Mr Goldman’s complaint could pressure the committee to launch an investigation, particularly in light of rule changes being forced by House Republicans on the bipartisan Office of Congressional Ethics that could hinder its power.
On Monday night, Mr Goldman said the changes would “inhale” the office, which typically conducts investigations and then forwards both reports and recommendations to the ethics committee for consideration. In a statement, he said the changes were made “just in time to protect their favorite crook, George Santos.”
Mr Libowitz said Mr Goldman and Mr Torres’ complaint would effectively circumvent the office by encouraging the ethics committee to take action on its own. He added that the committee was split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, limiting the influence of partisan politics on its work.
If the parliamentary committee chooses to launch an investigation and finds Mr. Santos guilty, there are several disciplinary options.
The committee has ordered lawmakers to pay fines, as it did to North Carolina Republican Madison Cawthorn, whose term just expired last month. In addition, members of the Assembly may propose resolutions of reprimand or reprimand. In more extreme cases, the committee may recommend that the House expel a member, but such action is rare and would require a two-thirds majority vote.
In practice, Mr Libowitz said, the pressure of a House ethics investigation often forces lawmakers to either resign from office or disclose their intention not to run for reelection. Still, he said it stood out given the timing of calls to investigate Mr Santos.
“We usually don’t see investigations start as soon as someone takes office,” said Mr. Libowitz.
Grace Ashford contributed to the reporting.