The House Ethics Committee has created an investigative subcommittee to look into issues surrounding Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), who has admitted to multiple fabrications about his background and has come under scrutiny over his campaign and personal finances, the group announced Thursday.
The committee said the panel will examine whether Santos “engaged in illegal activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose the required information on applications submitted to the House of Representatives; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role at a trust services firm; and/or engages in sexual misconduct against an individual seeking employment in a congressional office.”
The committee voted unanimously to establish an investigative team.
Representative David Joyce (R-Ohio) will chair the subcommittee, and Susan Wild (D-Pennsylvania) will serve as its ranking member. Reps. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and Glenn Ivey (D-Med.) will also be part of the panel.
In short statementSantos’ office said the congressman is “fully cooperating” with the Ethics Committee’s investigation. “There will be no further comments yet.”
The ethics committee noted in a statement that the creation of an investigative subcommittee does not in itself indicate a violation.
The announcement of the Santos investigation came days after the Ethics Committee was formally organized.
The New York freshman’s scandals have brought him fame and infamy and prompted calls for his impeachment from several of his fellow House Republicans. Most recently, New York Republicans Anthony D’Esposito and Mark Molinaro is called to have him expelled from Congress.
Speaker Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.) declined to call for Santos to resign from Congress, stressing that the House must have “due process” and that he would wait for the Ethics Committee to investigate.
“Ethics is going to understand the situation. If anything comes of this, there will be consequences for your actions,” McCarthy told reporters this week.
But the speaker also said he would “probably have a little difficulty” supports Santos for re-election.
Santos was originally selected to serve on the Small Business and Science, Space and Technology committees, but said he decided not to serve on the committees before officially joining them.
The Ethics Committee investigation is just one of those several investigations of Santoswhich is also under close scrutiny by the Nassau County District Attorney, the New York State Attorney General, the Queens District Attorney, and reportedly the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
Those outside investigations could prove more fruitful for Santos than the House Ethics Committee investigation, which has historically been slow and deferred to federal prosecutors before taking action.
On the campaign finance frontSantos has faced questions about the source of the high-dollar personal loans he made to his campaign, as well as campaign expenses.
In previous filings with the FEC, Santos reported that he personally loaned his company more than $700,000, which he said was derived from work for his company, the Devolder Organization. But the redactions to his reports baffled campaign finance experts.
His company also reported a suspiciously large number of expenses of $199.99, just one cent shy of the $200 threshold that requires him to keep receipts and invoices.
Santos’ personal financial disclosures to the House of Representatives as a candidate showed a dramatic increase in personal wealth from 2020 to 2022. In 2020, he said he earned $55,000 from LinkBridge Investors in the previous year and did not disclose other assets, income or liabilities. Then in 2022 Santos reported that he received a salary of $750,000 from his new company Devolder, along with having $1 million to $5 million in a savings account, $100,001 to $250,000 in a checking account, and an apartment in Rio de Janeiro worth $500,001 to $1,000,000 .
Santos previously worked at Harbor City Capital, which the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) called a Ponzi scheme and was shut down in 2021. Santos has not been charged with a crime in connection with the SEC case, and he has denied knowledge of the alleged wrongdoing. The Washington Post reported in January, Santos stayed with the firm after a potential investor tipped him off that Harbor City was using a forged bank document.
House Ethics Committee link to alleged sexual misconduct Santos came forward after accuser Derek Myers told the Ethics Committee that Santos, while considering Myers for a job in his congressional office, made inappropriate comments and harassed Myers.
Updated at 3:37 p.m