The House Ethics Committee has found “substantial evidence of potential violations of federal criminal law” by indicted New York Congressman George Santos, and are referring the matter to the Justice Department. Shortly after the panel’s report went public on Thursday, Semafor reported that Santos would be dropping his bid for reelection in 2024.
The committee, comprised of six House members equally divided between the two parties, unanimously concluded that Santos “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House.”
The ISC report found that in multiple instances, Santos moved funds donated to his campaign to his personal checking accounts, and used the money at luxury store Hermès, OnlyFans, Sephora, as well as for meals, parking, and to pay off his credit card bills. His FEC reports included payments for Botox, a luxury vacation in the Hamptons, taxis and hotel stays during his Las Vegas honeymoon, and spa treatments.
“In light of the ongoing criminal investigation into Representative Santos, and the ISC’s findings of additional uncharged and unlawful conduct by Representative Santos, the ISC recommended that the Committee immediately refer these allegations to the Department of Justice,” the report read.
Santos was arrested in May on charges of wire fraud, money laundering, and lying to Congress. In October, a superseding indictment added additional charges related to an identity theft and money laundering scheme involving his campaign.
The committee did not recommend the House of Representatives expel Santos or discipline him otherwise, although it did acknowledge that “Representative Santos’ conduct warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.”
Santos,, recently survived a vote for his expulsion in the House. In May, Republicans indicated that they would wait for the Ethics Committee to recommend a course of action before moving to sanction Santos. The ball is now in their court, but with a slim majority and a history of protecting their own, the House GOP may choose simply to wait out his term.
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