The new George Santos? GOP Rep Anna Paulina Luna accused of exaggerating biography

Republican rep may have exaggerated or changed details about her ethnic heritage, family life, and personal experiences with safety and firearms, report claims

Josh Marcus
San Francisco
Friday 10 February 2023 23:21 GMT
George Santos: The imposter in Congress | On The Ground

A new investigation suggests the Republican Party could have another freshman member of Congress with a flair for fabulism, after its early weeks in power in the House have been overshadowed by the numerous falsehoods and fabrications told by Representative George Santos.

Representative Anna Paulina Luna of Florida, a GOP congresswoman who flipped a redistricted area outside of Tampa with the backing of Donald Trump, may have exaggerated or changed details about her ethnic heritage, family life, and personal experiences with safety and firearms, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

Rep Luna was born Anna Mayerhofer, but changed her name in what she said was an homage to her mother’s Mexican American family.

Former colleagues who served with Ms Luna in the Air Force said she never seemed to publicly identify as Hispanic until she left the armed forces and ran for Congress in Florida.

Ms Luna identified herself as “white, not of Hispanic origin” on her voting registration in Florida in 2015, the paper found, but later said she was Hispanic in a 2019 updated form.

(Ms Luna’s mother told the Post her daughter is biracial and bicultural, and has always been proud of her Hispanic heritage.)

“The Washington Post has clearly showcased the threat conservative minorities like Rep Luna pose to their leftist control,” a spokesperson for the congresswoman told The Independent in a statement. “Unfortunately for them, the receipts Rep Luna is revealing tonight on primetime television will completely blow their story out of the water.”

On the campaign trail, Ms Luna described having a tough childhood that left her “battle hardened” and with a “broken home mentality,” where she and her single mother lacked “a strong extended network of people.”

Family members told the Post this wasn’t their experience, sharing photos of Ms Luna attending numerous family events, and describing extended family members picking her up as a girl from school when her mother was studying to put herself through law school.

“The whole family kind of raised her — my dad was a part of her life when she was younger and we all kind of coddled her,” Nicole Mayerhofer, a first cousin, told the paper. “She was always a part of everything, all these family gatherings and activities.”

Another notable claim from Ms Luna was that while serving in Missouri, she suffered a “home invasion” which convinced her she needed to get a gun for self-defence.

Police records obtained by the Post show there was a daytime break-in at the apartment Ms Luna shared with a roommate when neither woman was home.

The roommate told the paper there were multiple guns already in the home.

The Republican party has been under scrutiny for candidate quality, after investigations and media reportsrevealed Rep Santosmade false or exaggerated claims about his religion, education, and professional life, and was charged or accused in a variety of financial crimes.

Most recently, it was revealed Mr Santos was charged with theft for using bad checks to buy puppies from Amish dog breeders in 2017. (The case was ultimately dismissed.)

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