Embattled Queens/Long Island Congressman George Santos to be investigated by House Ethics Committee

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Embattled Queens/Long Island Congressman George Santos is now being investigated by the House Ethics Committee for unlawful activity during his 2022 congressional campaign. The committee voted to open the probe earlier this week.

Additionally, the House Ethics Committee will investigate whether or not Santos’ financial disclosure forms are found to be truthful. He will also be investigated for possibly violating conflict-of-interest laws and sexual misconduct allegations.

Santos has earned a reputation as a national laughingstock due to the significant amount of lies that he has been caught in since being elected. While many of the lies were meant to try to make himself look good as a candidate, such as his education and career history, there are many others that stick out as odd. For example, he falsely claimed to have been a producer for the disastrous Broadway play “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.”

Due to concerns and questions surrounding Santos’ actual wealth, as well as suspicious campaign donations he received, many legislators and citizens had been calling for an investigation to be done on his campaign for a while. Santos is being investigated by both the Queens and Nassau County district attorney offices as well.

Congressmen Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres, who had previously called for the House to look into Santos’ campaign finance filings, each released a statement in the wake of the ethics investigation being announced.

“After filing a complaint with the House Committee on Ethics in January, Congressman Torres and I are encouraged that the committee has unanimously agreed that George Santos’ conduct warrants a full investigation,” Congressman Goldman said. “It is imperative that the committee proceed with this investigation quickly and expeditiously. More importantly, Mr. Santos must fully cooperate with the investigation as he has promised to do and as is his duty and obligation as a member of the House of Representatives. If he does not fully cooperate as required, he should immediately be expelled from Congress.”

“Given everything we know that Rep. George Santos has lied about with respect to both his personal and professional life and his blatant violations of federal campaign finance and securities laws, I don’t see how the House Ethics Committee could’ve reached any other decision but to launch this investigation,” Congressman Torres said. “It’s imperative that the House be unafraid to holds its own members accountable to uphold the dignity of integrity of the institution, which is why I was proud to join my colleague, Rep. Dan Goldman, last month in filing the formal ethics complaint against Rep. Santos to begin the investigative process that is now unfolding. Rep. Santos, by his own admission, is a terrible liar who’s done a great disservice to the people of his district and whose presence in Congress continues to represent a grave threat and danger to our democracy and national security. Fortunately, we’re one step closer to holding him accountable for his corruption and deception and hopefully removing him from office once and for all.”

Despite a majority of Santos’ district’s residents calling for him to resign since the first lies came to light thanks to a New York Times article last December, he has refused to step down. However, he has recused himself from his congressional committee assignments.

If the investigation does find that Santos’ campaign broke the law, it is possible that the House will vote to expel him from office. In order for Santos to be expelled, two-thirds of the 435 members must vote in favor of it. Assuming all 212 Democrats vote for Santos to be expelled, at least 78 Republicans would need to vote with them.

Santos has faced criticism from many constituents within the Queens/Long Island district he is representing.

On Feb. 25, dozens of Congressional District 3 residents gathered in New Hyde Park to caravan through Queens and Long Island and call for embattled Congressman George Santos to be removed from office.

The rally followed several other protests held outside of Santos’ Douglaston office in Queens calling for Santos to be expelled from Congress.

According to Queens County GOP Chairman Tony Nunziato, he is withholding judgement until the investigation into Santos concludes. While he questioned the legitimacy behind the investigation, he did say that actions should be taken if anything illegal is found.

“They can conduct all the investigations they want,” Nunziato said. “If they want to launch an investigation, let them. We are a country where you’re innocent until proven guilty. If they want to waste time and effort, so be it. Anybody can do an investigation, but it doesn’t mean anything is wrong.”