Newly-elected U.S. Rep. George Santos was named to a pair of House committees on Tuesday amidst a myriad of investigations launched into his personal, professional and financial background.
Republican House leaders said Santos will serve on Congress’ Small Business Committee as well as the Science, Space and Technology Committee amid grow calls for him to resign.
Santos also faces a pair of new complaints filed by a watchdog group and two of his Democratic colleagues from New York.
The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit organization that aims to advance democracy through the law, questioned the newly-elected congressman’s influx of wealth after reporting a salary of $55,000 in 2020 to $750,000 in 2022 and $1 million to $5 million in dividends.
The organization also called the congressman’s $705,000 loan to his campaign into question, claiming he falsified reports on nearly 40 expenditure filings under $200.
The center filed the complaint with the Federal Election Commission on Monday and to the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday.
Democratic U.S. Reps. Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee on Tuesday for allegedly violating the Ethics in Government Act, saying the Republican must be held accountable for deceiving voters and Congress.
The Ethics in Government Act, officials said, was created to “preserve and promote the integrity of public officials and institutions,” which Torres and Goldman believe Santos has failed to adhere to. The two described financial reports submitted in 2020 and 2022 as “sparse and perplexing” in the complaint.
Torres (NY-15) said during a news conference in Long Island on Tuesday he is calling on the FEC to launch an investigation into potential illegal activity and irregularities with the campaign finances of Santos.
Santos also now faces allegations of scamming a homeless, disabled veteran out of thousands of dollars that would have been used to care for the man’s service dog.
Richard Osthoff told Patch that he met Santos, who introduced himself as Anthony Devolder, in 2016 while living in a tent on the side of a New Jersey highway.
Osthoff’s service dog, Sapphire, was suffering from a life-threatening stomach tumor, treatment for which would cost $3,000, the veteran told Patch.
A veterinary technician told Osthoff to use Friends of Pets United, a pet charity headed up by Santos under the Anthony Devolder alias.
Osthoff said he never saw any of the funds after a GoFundMe was set up and subsequently deleted once it got close to hitting the $3,000 goal.
Sapphire died in January 2017, he said.
“I went through two bouts of seriously considering suicide, but thinking about leaving her without me saved my life,” Osthoff told Patch. “I loved that dog so much, I inhaled her last breaths when I had her euthanized.”
Osthoff said Santos informed him that the money would not be used for Sapphire, but rather “for other dogs.”
Santos has declined to answer questions from the media since arriving at Capitol Hill last week, and efforts to reach the congressman for comment were unavailing.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, on Thursday, told reporters that Santos would go before the Congressional Ethics Committee “if there are concerns” about his behavior and would be “held accountable exactly as anybody else” in Congress would be if something is found to be wrong.
Santos, last week, told fellow U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Florida) that he will continue to serve in Congress until the same number of 3rd District residents that voted for him call for him to resign, despite no longer having support from the Nassau County Republican Committee and local GOP officials.
Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman 142,017-120,060 in the district’s November election.
After multiple publications, including the New York Times, unearthed falsehoods in his personal and professional background, the newly-elected congressman said he will continue to serve the 3rd District constituents until the same number of people who voted for him call for him to step down.
“I was elected by 142,000 people,” Santos told Gaetz, who hosted Steve Bannon’s War Room podcast on Thursday. “Until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me, we’ll find out in two years.”
Santos also tweeted on Wednesday that he would not resign from Congress, touting his desire to serve the constituents of the 3rd District rather than other politicians or political parties.
3rd District residents against Santos have already begun to band together in the form of online petitions. Great Neck’s Jody Kass Finkel launched a change.org petition calling on Santos to step down which has received more than 1,900 signatures as of Thursday.
The petition calls for the U.S. Department of Justice to prosecute Santos for fraud, local Republican leaders to apologize for backing Santos’ congressional run and for national Republican leaders to refuse Santos a seat in Congress.
“In my 30+ years in the nonprofit world lobbying for environmental, health and affordable housing issues in Washington and Albany, I’ve never seen anyone with such an arrogant contempt for the truth or his constituents,” Finkel, a volunteer of the Great Neck Democratic Party and organizer of a petition urging Santos to resign, said in a statement. “While the whole country is aghast at Santos’s lies and utter disregard for decency, the residents of NY-03 have the most to lose.
The Nassau County Republican Committee and local GOP officials called on Santos to resign from his position last week.
Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena, newly-elected state Sen. Jack Martins and newly-elected U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito called on Santos to step down from his position, saying the lies and deceit of his personal and professional background will not allow him to be an effective leader.
“He’s disgraced the House of Representatives and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople,” Cairo said in a press conference. “Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I am calling for his immediate resignation.”
“The lies George Santos told are too numerous to count,” DeSena, who publicly endorsed Santos, said. “He lied to me personally when he sought my endorsement, and while I am offended and disgusted at his deceit, my true concerns are for the residents of the 3rd Congressional District.”
“What was really tragic is the fact that there are so many people here in Nassau County that are survivors of the Holocaust,” Blakeman said. “These are people whose families were decimated and it many instances wiped out… For him to make up this story that his parents were Holocaust survivors, is beyond the pale. It is simply tragic and outrageous and disgusting.”
Finkel, along with Nassau County and state Democratic Chairman Jay Jacobs, called for Cairo and other local Republican officials to sign a bipartisan statement on congressional integrity. The statement advocates for Congress to expel Santos from his position if he does not resign.
“Bipartisan calls for George Santos’ resignation are a welcomed step forward,” Jacobs said in a statement. “All of us, from both parties, that value and respect the responsibility and stature of elected office, particularly that of the House of Representatives, should unite in demanding Santos’ expeditious expulsion from the House, should he refuse to resign.”
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, whom Santos voted for during the arduous election process, told reporters he has “a long way to go to earn trust” but that he was elected by 3rd District residents and is actively serving in Congress.
“It’s the voters who made that decision, he has to answer to the voters and the voters can make another decision in two years,” McCarthy told CNN Wednesday.