Despite a series of inquiries by federal and local prosecutors into his campaign spending and fabrications regarding his family history, career experience, and education, embattled Rep.-elect George Santos was scheduled to be sworn in on Tuesday.
When questioned by reporters inside and outside the Capitol, including one about if he intended to quit, the incoming Republican congressman from New York chose not to comment.
Before Tuesday’s vote for House speaker, Santos was seen sitting on the Republican side of the chamber’s floor.
An out homosexual Republican named Santos won a Long Island House district held by Democrats for ten years.
At first, this victory was hailed as a success for his party in an otherwise disappointing midterm election.
Santos, however, turned into a distraction and embarrassment for the party as they were ready to gain control of the House as stories started to surface that he had lied about having Jewish ancestry, a career at top Wall Street firms, and a college degree.
Republicans in the House, like Kevin McCarthy, vying to become the next House speaker, have notably been quiet as some of their party members have demanded ethics investigations or Santos’ resignation.
Santos, for his part, expressed regret for his lies but downplayed them.
Santos and other newly elected members of Congress cannot take the oath of office until a new speaker is chosen.
Santos’ financial disclosure documents indicate that he amassed a rapid fortune despite having recently had financial difficulties and spent a significant amount of campaign funds on lodging.
According to a person familiar with the situation who spoke to The Associated Press, federal prosecutors in New York have begun investigating Santos’ background and business transactions.
The local district attorneys’ offices in Queens and Long Island have also stated they are investigating if Santos breached any laws.
The New York attorney general’s office has said it is looking into the claims concerning Santos.
According to records found by The New York Times, Santos was the focus of a criminal investigation in Brazil in 2008 over claims that he used counterfeit checks to make purchases at a clothes store in the city of Niteroi, which is close to Rio de Janeiro.
Santos would have been 19 years old at the time. According to local prosecutors, who were cited by The Times, Santos has never been in court, therefore, the case is inactive.
Santos has refuted reports that he is wanted by South American law enforcement.
However, state prosecutors in Rio de Janeiro declared in a Tuesday statement that they will want to reopen the case now that Santos’ whereabouts are known.
Democrats in Congress are anticipated to take action against Santos in several ways, including filing a possible complaint.
Santos has no assets as of 2020 and received $55,000 from LinkBridge Investors, according to financial disclosure documents submitted to the House clerk.
Santos declared income between $1 million and $5 million for the years 2022 and 2021 in a similar filing two years later; all of this income came from the Devolder Organization, in which he held a 100% interest.
A “capital intro consulting company” was what he termed the organization.
According to federal campaign records, he lent his campaign more than $700,000.
Before the election, The North Shore Leader, a small Long Island daily, published an article that highlighted concerns about Santos’ finances and campaign expenditures, although it received little attention at the time.
The publication noted Santos’ conduct and other factors in announcing that it was endorsing his opponent.
🚨Rep.-elect George Santos has arrived on Capitol Hill
He did not answer multiple questions, only telling me he will vote for Kevin McCarthy for speaker. pic.twitter.com/fiiFnHNxks
— Lalee Ibssa (@LaleeIbssa) January 3, 2023