Santos will not seek re-election after House panel finds evidence of crimes | ET REALITY

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The House Ethics Committee on Thursday found “substantial evidence” that Rep. George Santos violated federal law, setting the stage for another attempt to oust the embattled first-term Republican from New York and prompting him to declare that I would not seek re-election.

House investigators found evidence that Santos used campaign funds for personal purposes, defrauded donors and filed false or incomplete campaign finance and financial disclosure reports, according to a report. 56 page report released on Thursday.

The committee voted unanimously to refer its findings to the Justice Department, saying that Mr. Santos’ conduct “deserves public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought serious discredit to the House.”

And although the panel stopped short of recommending punitive measures, there were already signs that the report could be the catalyst for a third effort to remove Santos from office. Numerous House members have previously said they would support expelling him if the committee found a criminal offense or serious ethics violation.

“Most of us have never seen anything like this: so extensive, so brazen and so bold,” said Rep. Glenn F. Ivey, Democrat of Maryland, who sits on the Ethics Committee.

Ivey, a former federal prosecutor, said he believed panel staff had uncovered additional evidence that could be used in the federal prosecution of Santos.

Santos, 35, a Republican who represents parts of Long Island and Queens, already faces a 23-count federal indictment that includes allegations that he stole from his donors and falsified campaign documents. Santos, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment, resisted calls for his resignation and pleaded not guilty.

Shortly after the report was published, Mr. Santos announced in Xthe website formerly known as Twitter, who would not seek re-election in 2024. Still, he appeared to disagree with the committee’s conclusions, writing: “If there was a single ounce of ETHICS in the “ethics committee” they would not have published this biased report.”

Ethics investigators concluded that Mr. Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial benefit,” according to the report, noting that he sustained his campaign “through a constant series of lies to their constituents, donors and staff about their background and experience.”

Santos reported hundreds of thousands of dollars in fictitious loans to his campaign, according to the report, and then repaid them with real money.

The report also details how Mr. Santos presented numerous expenses that did not appear to have a campaign purpose, from trips and hotel stays in Las Vegas that corresponded to the time he was supposed to be on his honeymoon, to thousands of dollars in spas. . At least two payments were described as for Botox.

Some of the report’s most salacious details concern a company called RedStone Strategies, which Santos used to raise money without being subject to campaign contribution limits.

Investigators discovered that Santos transferred at least $200,000 from RedStone, spread over numerous transactions in 2022. That money was then used to pay off personal credit cards, make purchases at Hermes and Sephora, and spend on Onlyfans, a website known for its adult content.

The committee was unable to substantiate allegations that Santos was guilty of sexual harassment. The accusations were made last February by a potential assistant who accused Santos of approaching him and then firing him after his advances were rebuffed. Santos’ team said the aide had been fired after learning of the wiretapping charges the man faced in Ohio.

Earlier this month, a bloc of first-term Republicans representing moderate districts in Santos’ home state of New York forced a vote on his expulsion from Congress. That effort failed miserably, and many House members said they were wary of setting a precedent for impeachment without a decision from a court or the Ethics Committee.

Those critics, led by Anthony D’Esposito, a fellow Republican from Long Island, have wasted little time in using the ethics report to pressure their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to reconsider Santos’ ouster.

Rep. Dan Goldman, D-New York, said in a statement that he would file a motion to expel Santos from the House after Thanksgiving.

Lucas Broadwater and miguel gold contributed reports.

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