George Santos accused of ‘ethics violations and sexual harassment’ by would-be aide

Derek Myers made the allegations in a letter to the House Committee on Ethics on Friday

Andrea Blanco
Sunday 05 February 2023 16:15 GMT
George Santos turns on reporter after she asks him to apologise to voters for lying

New York Representative George Santos has been accused of sexual harassment.

Derek Myers made the allegations in a letter to the House Committee on Ethics on Friday. Mr Myers worked in Mr Santos’ Office from 24 January until he was terminated earlier this week because he is facing criminal wiretapping charges in Ohio, The New York Times reported.

Mr Myers said that while they went through mail from constituents on 25 January, Mr Santos asked him whether he was on the dating app Grindr, with the congressman allegedly sharing that he had a profile. Mr Myers claimed that Mr Santos asked him to sit closer and allegedly started touching his leg.

When Mr Myers reportedly declined a karaoke invitation, he claims that Mr Santos moved his hand to Mr Myers’ groin area.

“These matters will not be litigated on social media or through news media,’ Mr Myers tweeted on Friday along with the letter. “They are serious offenses and the evidence and facts will speak for themselves if the committee takes up the matter. This tweet is being made public in light of transparency.”

He claimed he also raised the accusations with Capitol Police. The Independent has reached out to Mr Santos’ office, the Ethics Committee for comment and Capitol Police for comment.

Mr Myers was in the process of being hired as a “legislative correspondence” and “staff assistant” but was ultimately not chosen for the position due to Mr Santos’ concerns about wiretapping charges he faced for publishing recorded court testimony on the Ohio-based newspaper the Scioto Valley Guardian, according to the outlet Semafor.

Initially, he was allegedly told he would work as a “volunteer” until his paperwork was processed. Mr Myers claims that he has since learned “such volunteer work within a Congressional office without the correct procedure being followed is in violation of the House Ethics.”

Mr Myers is also behind a recently released tape that he provided to Talking Points Memo in which he is having a conversation with the New York Representative. He reportedly requested the outlet not publish it until he had a chance to ask for his job back.

He allegedly did not disclose to Mr Santos or his chief of staff Charlie Lovett that he was recording them. In the tape, recorded five days after the alleged incident described in the letter to the House Committee on Ethics, the men talked about Mr Myer’s trip to Colombia “to get Botox,” and Mr Santos’ regret for having “lied” to Mr Lovett.

“I’ve obviously f***ed up and lied to him, like I lied to everyone else,” Mr Santos says in the clip, while referring to Mr Lovett. “And he still forgave me and gave me a second shot, unlike some other people. I trust his judgment more than my own judgment,”

Mr Myers, who was an editor at the Valley Guardian but described himself in the tape as “a former journalist,” can also be heard saying: “I will never lie to you guys. I have no reason to. But I will lie for you.”

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan. 25
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan. 25 (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The accusations by Myers are the latest in a saga of controversy for the freshman congressman, whose fabrications, resume inconsistencies and now-debunked remarks have been exposed by the media in recent months.

In his first sit-down interview since taking office on Friday, Mr Santos said he never claimed his mother died on the day of the terror attacks, “but that she had died as a result of [them].”

“The toxic dust that permeated throughout Manhattan and my mother being present, downtown Manhattan — that is was what I was referencing,” Mr Santos told OAN’s Caitlin Sinclair in an interview that was published in full on Saturday. “My mom died in home-hospice in 2016.”

When asked about a review of her immigration history in The New York Times that revealed she was not even in the country when the attack occurred, Mr Santos said that “he didn’t know where that came from,” without offering any further explanation.

Mr Santos has since admitted that he “embellished” some aspects of his career. Several outlets have since reported that evidence contradicts his education and work history, claims that his grandparents survived the Holocaust and that he personally “lost” four of his employees in the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in 2016.

When confronted with genealogists’ remarks that there seems to be no evidence supporting his alleged Jewish ancestry, he said he had been referencing what he was told by his grandparents, who are now deceased.

The congressman has ignored bipartisan calls for him to step down, but announced earlier this week that he will voluntarily step down from two House committees he recently joined after a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

A larger federal investigation is also probing a $700,000 loan Mr Santos made to his campaign, according to The New York Times.

The FEC is also investigating more than a dozen questionable donations and irregular behaviour by the campaign, including donations from prolific Donald Trump donor Cheng Gao. The commission claims it appears that Mr Gao’s donations — of $11,200 — exceeded the legal limit for campaign donations, CNBC reported.

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