Santos won’t seek re-election after critical ethics report
A top aide to George Santos has quit after the House Ethics Committee issued a damning report about the actions of the freshman Republican congressman.
Gabrielle Lipsky resigned as communications director on Friday, the day after the report found that the 35-year-old had violated ethics guidelines, the rules of the House and criminal laws, and that he had been aware that he was crossing the line.
House Ethics panel chairman GOP Rep Michael Guest of Mississippi filed a motion for Santos’ expulson on Friday. The chamber can take up the motion on 28 November upon lawmakers’ return from Thanksgiving recess.
Santos claimed that he’s the victim of “dirty” politics after announcing that he won’t seek re-election in 2024.
He later complained that he has suffered a “year from hell” and claimed that he’s a victim of the “poison” from the ethics committee.
Lamenting that he was just trying to “serve my country” by running for Congress, he claimed that his “rights” had been taken from him.
George Santos faces fresh motion to expel after ethics report
New York Republican Rep George Santos is facing a new motion to expel him from the House after the chamber’s Ethics Committee issued a damning report about the actions of the freshman congressman.
The report found that the 35-year-old had violated ethics guidelines, the rules of the House and criminal laws, and that he had been aware that he was crossing the line.
VIDEO: Digging into the Santos ethics report
Statement from House Ethics Committee chairman
Santos to hold 30 November press conference on Capitol steps
The New York lawmaker has announced that he will hold a press conference on the steps of the US Capitol in two weeks’ time.
“Press conference November 30th at 8am on The Capitol steps, I encourage ALL members of the press to attend. Happy Thanksgiving,” he added.
On Thursday, the House Ethics Committee released its damning report into the freshman congressman following a months-long investigation.
In it, the committee said it had uncovered “substantial evidence” that the GOP lawmaker broke federal laws and that he “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House”.
“In light of the ongoing criminal investigation into Representative Santos, and the ISC’s findings of additional uncharged and unlawful conduct by Representative Santos, the ISC recommended that the Committee immediately refer these allegations to the Department of Justice,” the panel wrote.
Santos splashed donor cash on a honeymoon to Las Vegas
The committee found evidence that the debt-ridden Mr Santos used the money donors had paid to his campaign to fund his “luxury spending habits” including Botox treatments, OnlyFans payments and shopping trips to Sephora.
Mr Santos allegedly transferred the campaign funds into his own account, then spent $4,127.80 at Hermes and several smaller purchases at OnlyFans.
Over $2,000 of campaign money was spent at casino resorts on the Atlantic City strip while more than $1,500 was spent on Botox, the report finds.
Mr Santos also splashed donor cash on a honeymoon to Las Vegas and a $3,000 stay at an Airbnb in the Hamptons.
“Representative Santos was frequently in debt, had an abysmal credit score, and relied on an ever-growing wallet of high-interest credit cards to fund his luxury spending habits. He occasionally deposited large amounts of cash that he has never accounted for, moved money between his various bank accounts in a highly suspicious manner, and made over $240,000 cash withdrawals for unknown purposes,” the report read.
Santos refuses to stand down in face of expulsion and 23 criminal charges
In October, Mr Santos was indicted on 23 federal charges in New York including campaign fraud, credit card theft and lying to the Federal Election Commission. Since then, two of his former staffers have pleaded guilty in the case.
Following the report’s release on Thursday, Mr Santos announced that he will not seek reelection – but continues to refuse to stand down from his role in Congress.
Writing on X, Mr Santos said he wouldn’t be seeking “a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time” as he lashed out at the ethics committee claiming it does not have “a single ounce of ETHICS”.
Pressure mounting on Republicans to vote to expel
The findings laid out in the ethics report mark just the latest scandal to encircle Mr Santos after he was exposed for lying about a whole host of things on his resume, claiming that his mother died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and being accused of stealing funds raised for a disabled veteran’s dying service dog.
These growing scandals have led many within the GOP to deem him unfit for office.
Earlier this month, the embattled New York congressman survived an expulsion vote in the House of Representatives, brought to the floor by fellow Republican lawmaker Anthony D’Esposito. The resolution needed a two-thirds majority to succeed but fell well short.
Now, pressure is mounting on the Republican party to vote to expel him in light of the report revelations.
Others who voted to save Mr Santos in the last expulsion vote told Axios that this time round they will support his removal.
“He’s gone,” one House Republican said.
VIDEO: Rep. George Santos won’t seek reelection
George Santos mocked by Fox News host for claiming he didn’t know what OnlyFans was
In the interview from 30 March 2023, Fox News anchor Lisa Montgomery asked Mr Santos if he had an account. “I just discovered what OnlyFans was about three weeks ago,” he said. “I was oblivious.”
“You just can’t tell the truth”, Montgomery muttered.
The damning report, released on 16 November, found “grave and pervasive campaign finance violations” during his 2022 election campaign, including a personal subscription to the influencer platform.
The Republican New York Representative has announced he won’t seek re-election in 2024.
28 December 2022: Nassau County’s district attorney launches a probe
Nassau County’s district attorney delivered a sharp statement just before the new year, insisting that “no one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”
Again, it wasn’t clear what specific crime Mr Santos would supposedly be investigated for allegedly committing. But the district attorney of Nassau County is a Republican, and therefore her statement served as the first crack to appear in a dam protecting Mr Santos from the wrath of his own party.
“The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning. The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress,” Anne T Donnelly said.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies