The House Ethics Committee voted unanimously this week to launch an investigation into Rep. George Santos (R-NY) over a variety of issues stemming from numerous false statements that he has made about his past.
“Pursuant to the Committee’s action, the Investigative Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Representative George Santos may have: engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office,” said a statement from the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee.
Rep. David Joyce (R-OH) will serve as Chair of the Investigative Subcommittee and Rep. Susan Wild (D-PA) will serve as the Ranking Member. The other members on the Subcommittee are Rep. John Rutherford (R-FL) and Rep. Glenn Ivey (D-MD).
The freshman congressman, who has admitted to lying about numerous aspects of his background and is facing probes from federal and local authorities, announced last month that he was stepping down from his committee assignments.
“With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared,” Santos said in a statement. “This was a decision that I take very seriously.”
“The business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare,” he continued. “It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York’s Third Congressional District and providing federal level representation without distraction.”
Santos has already admitted that he fibbed about working for financial titans Goldman Sachs and Citigroup; he also admitted that he did not graduate from college. Furthermore, Santos admitted that he embellished some of the details of his personal life, his religion, and his sexuality.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that law enforcement officials in Brazil “intend to revive fraud charges” against Santos stemming from an incident in 2008 that involved a checkbook that was allegedly stolen.
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The case was suspended because law enforcement was not able to find him, the report said. Brazilian prosecutors will now make a formal request to the Department of Justice to notify Santos of the charges.
The alleged incident happened when Santos, then 19, entered a small clothing store and spent $700 using a stolen checkbook and a false name, the report said. He allegedly admitted to the fraud on a Brazilian social media website the following year.
He and his mother allegedly admitted to police in 2010 that he stole the checkbook to make fraudulent purchases, the report said. The following year, the charge against Santos was approved, but he had already left the country and was living in the U.S.
The report added that at this point in the case, neither U.S. nor Brazilian officials can get Santos to respond. However, that could change if the case moves forward. If convicted, Santos could face up to half a decade in prison.
Related: FBI Investigating George Santos’ Alleged Involvement In ‘GoFundMe Scheme’: Report