Posts tagged with "Rep. George Santos (R-New York)"

McCarthy says he will leave Congress at the end of the year

December 8, 2023

About two months after being ousted as Speaker, Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-California) said he would exit the House a year early. The former Speaker—who made history as the first to be ousted from that post—announced on Wednesday, December 6, that he would leave the House at the end December, but said he planned to remain engaged in Republican politics, reports The Hill.

McCarthy’s resignation—which he announced in an opinion essay in The Wall Street Journal—will bring to a close a 16-year stint in Congress in which he rose from a member of the self-proclaimed “Young Guns”—Republicans driving to build their party’s majority in the House— to the position second in line to the presidency.

It caps his spectacular downfall after just under nine months as Speaker, when the right-wing forces that he and other establishment Republicans harnessed to power their political victories ultimately rose up and ran him out.

“I will continue to recruit our country’s best and brightest to run for elected office,” McCarthy said in announcing his plans in the Journal. “The Republican Party is expanding every day, and I am committed to lending my experience to support the next generation of leaders.”

McCarthy’s early exit, while not unexpected, creates a headache for his successor, Speaker Mike Johnson, who is struggling to run the House with a slim and dwindling majority.

Many lawmakers already have announced that  they will depart the House, citing historic dysfunction. And while many of those departing members have said they plan to serve out their current terms, those plans can often change quickly when job offers begin to materialize and a nice life outside of Congress comes into focus.

McCarthy’s imminent departure, which he announced just days before California’s December 8 filing deadline to run for re-election, will shrink the already slim Republican majority. The party’s margin in the House fell to three seats from four with the expulsion of Representative George Santos (R-New York) last week.

That leaves almost no wiggle room for Johnson, who is already dealing with a revolt from the far right for working with Democrats to keep the government funded and faces another pair of shutdown deadlines in mid-January and early February.

Governor Gavin Newsom, Democrat of California, will have 14 days after McCarthy’s final day to call a special election to fill the seat; and by state law, the election has to take place about four months later.

For McCarthy, who has struggled to adjust to life as a rank-and-file lawmaker, the early departure holds nothing but upside. Former members are banned for one year after leaving Congress from lobbying their former colleagues. By resigning this month, McCarthy can start the clock on that delay from what promises to be lucrative work in the private sector a year earlier than he would have been able to if he served out his term.

Research contact: @thehill

Santos says he won’t seek re-election after release of ethics report

November 17, 2023

House investigators found “substantial evidence” that Representative George Santos (R-New York) knowingly violated a litany of ethics and criminal laws, according to a House Ethics Committee report released on Thursday, November 15, that prompted Santos to declare he would not seek re-election next year, reports The Washington Post.

“Representative Santos’ conduct warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House,” Reps. Michael Guest (R-Mississippi) and Susan Wild (D-Pennsylvania), the committee’s chairman and senior Democrat, said in a joint statement.

The report recommended that the allegations against Santos be referred to the Justice Department but stopped short of calling for Santos’s expulsion from the House or other discipline. Guest told reporters Wednesday that recommending punishment for Santos would have taken the panel several more months. Instead, he said, the report would simply be publicly released so that lawmakers could read it and “take whatever action that they felt necessary.”

Santos railed against the ethics committee on Thursday in a lengthy post on X in which he called the report a “disgusting politicized smear” and claimed that he was being “stoned by those who have flaws themselves.”

He added he would not be seeking reelection to a second term in 2024 after all, reversing course from a previous announcement in April that he would. Santos stepped down from his committee assignments in January.

According to the report, Santos was given an opportunity to submit to investigators a signed written statement responding to the allegations, but he did not do so. Santos also did not respond to the committee’s requests to submit documents, to voluntarily testify, or to provide a statement under oath.

The long-awaited report lays out the conclusions of the committee’s months-long investigation in scathing language. According to the committee, investigators compiled more than 170,000 pages of documents and testimony from dozens of witnesses, including financial statements, to reach its conclusion.

“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,” the report stated.

It continued: “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.

“He 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.”

Guest said he would file a motion to expel Santos on Friday morning, November 17, according to a person familiar with the plans who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. The House can consider the motion upon its return from its holiday break on November 28.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

George Santos now indicates $625K of loans to his campaign might not be ‘personal’

January 27, 2023

New campaign disclosures from embattled Representative George Santos (R-New York) suggest that at least $625,000 in campaign loans he had previously reported as self-funded might not be sourced from his “personal funds,” reports ABCNews.

Campaign finance experts say Santos may be violating campaign finance laws by not properly disclosing the original sources of those loans.

In a series of amendments filed on Tuesday, January 24, Santos marked two loans that he had previously reported as loans from himself— $500,000 from March 2022 and $125,000 from October 2022—as not from “personal funds from the candidate.”

In a previous version of his campaign disclosure, the $500,000 was reported as a loan from George Anthony Devolder-Santos, with a checked box indicating it was from “personal funds of the candidate.” But in an amendment to that report filed on Tuesday, that box was left unchecked.

Similarly, in another amendment filed on Tuesday, the $125,000 loan was reported as a self-loan from Santos but it had an unmarked box now indicating that it’s not from his personal funds. That loan was previously reported under the contributions section, with a memo that it was a self-loan from Santos.

Brendan Fischer, a campaign finance expert and the deputy executive director of Documented, said a campaign loan reported under a candidate, but not marked as “personal funds of the candidate,” usually means that the loan is secured through a bank or another person.

Under campaign finance laws, disclosures of such loans are required to be accompanied by the original source of the loans as well as the due date and the interest rate, Fischer said. But Santos’ amended filings did not disclose any of that information.

Santos declined to comment on the changes when asked by reporters outside his office on Wednesday: “I have no comment for you on that … I have no clue on what you are talking about,” he said.

Fischer said Santos’ new amendments “make no sense” and added that “unchecking the box is not going to absolve Santos from any legal liabilities.”

Adav Noti, former associate general counsel at the Federal Election Commission and now senior vice president and legal director of Campaign Legal Center, said the possibility of the changes being unintentional clerical errors, which the Santos campaign has a history of, should not be discounted at this point.

“I don’t think the amendments shed light either way on anything that happened,” Noti said. “There’s one checkbox on one form that was changed. There’s no indication that that was intentional, and there’s all sorts of indication that it might have just been sloppiness.”

Regardless of the intention of the changes, campaign finance lawyer and Deputy Executive Director of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation Paul Seamus Ryan emphasized the importance of proper disclosures of campaign funds.

“Disclosure of the source and terms of such a loan is important because federal law requires that loans obtained by a candidate for use in the candidate’s campaign must be on the usual and customary terms that would be offered to any similarly situated borrower,” Ryan said.

“I’m not sure what Santos’ motivation was for the loan-related amendments, but he hasn’t cleared up potential violations of federal law,” Ryan added.

Santos, who was elected in November to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District, has been under mounting scrutiny over his finances—with 2022 disclosures indicating millions in assets after previously disclosing less than $60,000 in income in 2020—as well as a string of falsehoods and embellishments he told about his background.

Democrats also have filed a complaint against him with the House Ethics Committee.

Santos has insisted he is not a criminal and has vowed to serve his term for his constituents—suggesting it’s up to them to reelect him or vote him out of office. He was recently given assignments on two lower-level congressional committees: the panels for small business and science, space and technology.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy told reporters on Tuesday that “I will hold  him [Santos] to the same standard I hold anyone else elected.”

If Santos is found to have broken the law, then “we will remove him,” McCarthy said, though it was unclear what punishment McCarthy was promising.

Research contact: @abcnews