WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee on Thursday released its much-anticipated report on its monthslong investigation into Rep. George Santos, concluding there is “substantial evidence” the New York Republican “violated federal criminal laws,” including using campaign funds for personal purposes and filing false campaign reports.
The Ethics subcommittee tasked with investigating Santos found “a complex web of unlawful activity involving Representative Santos’ campaign, personal, and business finances,” the scathing report states. “Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
“He blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were in fact payments for his personal benefit. He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign—and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported ‘repayments’ of those fictitious loans,” the report continues.
Santos “used his connections to high-value donors and other political campaigns to obtain additional funds for himself through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings. And he sustained all of this through a constant series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience,” the report says.
The Ethics Committee said it is referring its findings, including “uncharged” conduct, to the Justice Department. It did not make a recommendation to the House.
The DOJ has already charged Santos on multiple federal counts, including identity theft, money laundering and theft of public funds. He is set to go on trial in September and has pleaded not guilty.
Santos has, meanwhile, rejected calls for his resignation, saying his political future should be left up to New York voters.
Rep. Robert Garcia, D-Calif., said on Thursday that he plans to again submit a privileged resolution to expel Santos from Congress when the House returns to Washington on Nov. 28.
Garcia, who introduced a similar resolution earlier this year, said in a statement that the Ethics report makes it “crystal clear that the GOP’s decision to wait 9 months to act was not only irresponsible, but dangerous,” adding that Santos “has no place in Congress.”
The House will be forced to act on Garcia’s resolution because it’s privileged. Santos survived another effort to expel him earlier this month.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.