House Ethics Committee: ‘Substantial evidence’ George Santos used campaign funds for personal use

Republican Rep. George Santos announced he will not seek re-election to the House next year, after the ethics committee released its long-awaited report Thursday, concluding there is “substantial evidence” that the New York congressman used campaign funds to personal purposes. .

The report said Santos engaged in “knowing and willful violations” of financial disclosure statements filed with the House, and “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission.”

A committee statement accompanying the report said the panel voted unanimously to adopt the report. The committee said it uncovered additional “uncharged and illegal conduct” by Santos that goes beyond the criminal charges already pending against him, and will immediately refer those allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation.

Santos announced in a statement that he will not seek re-election following the release of the ethics report, although he remained defiant about the allegations against him and condemned the investigation, calling it a “biased report.”

“It is a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depth of how low our federal government has sunk. Everyone who participated in this serious miscarriage of justice should be ashamed of themselves,” Santos wrote of the report in a post on X. He continued saying: “However, I will NOT seek re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”

The panel concluded that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his candidacy for the House of Representatives for his own personal financial gain.”

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The panel said the congressman’s conduct deserves “public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of office and has brought the House into serious disrepute.”

Santos declined a voluntary interview and also did not submit a written response to the ethics panel’s allegations.

But the committee decided not to issue a subpoena to Santos because of his likelihood of invoking his Fifth Amendment rights and that his testimony “would have low probative value given his admitted practice of embellishment.”

The panel also said Santos “did not cooperate fully” with the investigation.

The release of the report is the latest blow to the New York Republican, who has separately pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including allegations of fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misuse of campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on House- disclosure reports. Santos has remained defiant in the face of the mounting legal problems he faces.

This story and headline have been updated with additional developments.

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