U.S. Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park), who has called for Congressman George Santos to resign, introduced two bills Tuesday that would prevent members of Congress from financially profiting off breaking election laws.
D’Esposito, who represents the state’s 4th Congressional District next to Santos’ district, said he and his office plan to help out with constituents of the 3rd District as Santos undergoes investigations.
Santos, after being elected to the state’s 3rd Congressional District in November, has come under intense scrutiny for embellishing parts of his resume. The House Ethics Committee launched a formal investigation last week into his most recent campaign, officials announced.
Esposito’s No Fame for Fraud Resolution and No Fortune for Fraud Acts would bar any current or former members of Congress who were indicted or found guilty of violating the Federal Election Act of 1971 or lost their congressional pension through other violations to financially profit from their transgressions.
The legislation would prevent members who fall under the parameters of the bills to take compensation for biographies or media appearances based off their crimes, among other things.
“I am committed to advancing good, accountable government here in our nation’s capital, and that includes preventing elected officials who broke the public’s trust from profiting from their misdeeds,” D’Esposito said in a statement about the bill clearly aimed at Santos.
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 he reported a salary of $55,000 in 2020, which rose 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 and the Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice in January.
“Con artists, liars, and fabulists who lied their way into Congress should not be able to monetize their lies, and this legislative package would ensure they are unable to do so,” Esposito said. “I spent the greater part of my career keeping criminals off the streets of New York, and now I want to keep fraudsters out of the halls of Congress.”
The FBI is also currently investigating Santos’ role in allegedly scamming a homeless, disabled veteran out of thousands of dollars that would have been used to care for the man’s service dog.
Other Congressional freshmen from the state, including U.S. Rep. Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marcus Molinaro, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams, co-sponsored the bill.
“No member, of any political party, should be able to profit off their crimes, lies, indictments, or fraud. Liars and cheats should not reap any reward from their deception,” LaLota said.
“I ran on restoring transparency and accountability to our government because I believe that our constituents should be able to trust their representatives and know that we are fighting for them every day. Helping make our country a better, safer, and more prosperous place, not trying to land a deal with Netflix.”