Washington, DC – October 11 : Walking Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., on his way to a House Republican Conference Speaker candidate forum to be held at the Longworth Building on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2023, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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Rep. said. George Santos on Thursday said he will not seek re-election next year after a damning new House Ethics report found “overwhelming evidence” that the New York Republican contender committed campaign fraud and other violations.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I’m allowed,” Santos wrote in a defiant social media post that slammed that report as “a disgusting politicized smear.”
“However I will NOT seek re-election for a second term in 2024 because my family deserves better than being under the gun from the press all the time,” the freshman congressman wrote on X.
The announcement came less than an hour after the release of a report from the investigative body of the House Ethics Committee, which found Santos “blatantly stole from his campaign” and “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his candidacy in Chamber for his personal finances. profit.”
Alleged personal expenditures include more than $4,000 in donor funds for purchases at luxury clothing store Hermes, and for “smaller purchases on OnlyFans,” the online cam-streaming site known for its adult content .
The full ethics panel, chaired by Rep. Michael Guest of Mississippi, R-Miss., unanimously endorsed the report and voted to refer its findings to the Department of Justice.
A spokesman for Santos’ office, and his defense attorney, Joe Murray, did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
The scathing, 56-page ethics report is the latest blow to Santos, who already faces a raft of criminal theft and fraud charges in New York federal court.
The 35-year-old lawmaker, whose district covers parts of Queens and Nassau counties, has pleaded not guilty to the charges, which list crimes including identity theft, submitting false reports in campaign finance and stealing unemployment money, among others.
On Tuesday, Santos’ former campaign fundraiser, Sam Miele, pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge related to Miele posing as former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s chief of staff while soliciting donations for Santos.
As part of his plea, Miele admitted to charging political contributors’ credit cards for personal expenses.
Last month, Santos’ former campaign treasurer Nancy Marks pleaded guilty to campaign finance fraud charges related to her work for Santos.
He has vowed not to resign, shrugging off constant howls of bipartisan criticism and numerous attempts to force him out of Congress.
The subcommittee’s investigation covered many of the alleged acts that were initially brought up in federal charges.
“Santos deceived donors into giving what they thought were contributions to his campaign but were actually payments for his personal benefit,” the report said.
Representative George Santos, a Republican from New York, arrives for a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023.
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Santos also allegedly reported fake loans to his political committees to entice donors and party committees to make more contributions to his campaign, “and then diverted more campaign money to himself allegedly ‘ payment’ of those fictitious debts.”
And he used his political connections to obtain more funds for himself “through fraudulent or otherwise questionable business dealings,” the report said.
Santos perpetrated all of these schemes “through an ongoing series of lies to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience,” the report said.
The subcommittee charged him with failing to cooperate with investigators about how his campaign funds were managed and where his personal and political money came from.
“Not only did Santos refuse to provide the requested documents and sit for a voluntary interview, he failed to address most of the allegations under review,” according to the report.
Despite his efforts to blame assistants for the theft, the committee said he was both a knowing participant and the true beneficiary of the alleged fraud.
“The falsely reported personal loans and contributions helped him meet the benchmarks needed to win the support of the national party and project a strong campaign to the public,” the report said.
The subcommittee also examined an allegation that Santos may have sexually misconducted a male job seeker in her House office, but “was unable to substantiate this allegation,” the report said.
The subcommittee “had concerns” about the man’s “credibility,” the report said, citing inconsistencies in his testimony and his statement that he contacted the FBI about his claim “to be compensated” by that agency for information about Santos.
Santos has been bombarded with accusations of wrongdoing since winning his election, which knocked his district out of Democratic control.
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