December 30, 2022
On December 28, Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly (R) in New York State announced that she would open an investigation into Representative-elect George Santos (R), whose surprise victory in November was quickly followed by revelations that he lied about his business experience, educational background, and family ancestry, reports The Washington Post.
Donnelly said in a statement: “The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated” with Santos “are nothing short of stunning.” The residents in the congressional district “must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress” and “if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”
Donnelly’s spokesperson, Brendan Brosh, said in a statement, “We are looking into the matter.”
In November, Santos won an open congressional seat on Long Island held by a Democrat. With that victory, Santos made headlines as the first non-incumbent who is an openly gay Republican to be elected to Congress. He also falsely described himself as Jewish and a fantastically successful businessman.
Days after an explosive story ran in The New York Times on December 19, detailing lies Santos told about his background, Santos gave a handful of interviews in which he acknowledged that he was untruthful about having worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and having graduated from Baruch College. He said he never claimed to be Jewish, despite previous public comments about what he now characterizes as his “Jew-ish” heritage.
Also unclear is the exact source of the $700,000 Santos claimed to have loaned to his campaign in 2022—just two years after filing a financial disclosure report during an unsuccessful 2020 congressional run that stated he had no major assets or earned income.
Santos and his representatives did not respond to a request for comment.
News of the investigation came as another detail in Santos’s biography unraveled on Wednesday. During his 2020 congressional race, he told a dramatic story on a podcast about how a prestigious private school he attended refused to help his financially struggling family months before his graduation.
In the October 2020 interview, which resurfaced on social media Wednesday, Santos, referring to his parents, said: “They sent me to a good prep school—which was Horace Mann Prep in the Bronx. And in my senior year of prep school, unfortunately, my parents fell on hard times.” Santos went on to say that, at the time, his family couldn’t “afford a $2,500 tuition” and “I left school [with] four months till graduation.”
After contacting the school and providing them with several variations of Santos’s name that he has used in public, Ed Adler, a spokesman for Horace Mann, wrote in an email, “George Santos or any of the aliases you [cite] never attended HM.”
Some Democrats have called for Santos not to be seated as a member of Congress next week. House Republican leaders have largely remained silent about the matter, as Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-California) seeks enough votes to become House Speaker when Republicans take control of the chamber when the new term begins Tuesday, January 3.
Members of the House Equality Caucus, which focuses on issues facing the LGBTQ community, said in a statement Wednesday that Santos “does not deserve” to be in Congress and urged him to “step down immediately”—pointing to his unsupported claim that four of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando in 2016. Santos later said on WABC that the four people “were going to be coming to work” at his company. He did not elaborate in the interview, nor respond to inquiries from the Post about this.
Bruce Blakeman—the executive of Nassau County—told CNN on Wednesday that Santos needs to address the “emotional issues” that led to his lying. “A normal person wouldn’t do that,” said Blakeman, a Republican.
On Wednesday night on Twitter, Santos ignored the latest developments, but said he is looking forward to working in Congress.
Research contact: @washingtonpost