- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Two House Democrats on Tuesday filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against freshman GOP Rep. George Santos, who admitted to falsifying much of his campaign resume in his successful bid to win his seat in Congress representing New York’s 3rd District on Long Island. 

Reps. Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres, both of New York, called on the panel to investigate Mr. Santos for failing to “file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports,” in violation of the Ethics in Government Act.

The complaint triggers a preliminary Congressional probe of the embattled Mr. Santos, who, since arriving at the Capitol, has been hounded by the media about his fabricated campaign biography and is under pressure to resign by Democrats and denounced by lawmakers in his party too.

While Mr. Santos admitted he lied about graduating from college and working for prestigious financial institutions, among a list of other fabrications, the missing details on his financial disclosure form could lead to punishment by the House Ethics panel. It has already triggered a federal probe.

Mr. Santos loaned his campaign $705,000, according to a financial disclosure form filed with the House clerk. But the form leaves out where the money came from, which ethics lawyers say could lead to legal trouble for Mr. Santos. 

And his financial disclosure form could have additional problems. A campaign watchdog group filed a complaint against Mr. Santos with the Office of Congressional Ethics, an outside group that refers potential cases to the House Ethics panel. The Campaign Legal Center complaint alleges Mr. Santos may have falsified how he spent campaign funds and may have ducked reporting requirements. 

In the complaint filed with the House Ethics Committee, Mr. Goldman and Mr. Torres accuse Mr. Santos of failing to file campaign disclosure reports on time and failing to include accurate information. 

Mr. Torres and Mr. Goldman, a former House Intelligence Committee staff lawyer who helped orchestrate the first impeachment case against President Donald Trump, also questioned Mr. Santos’ income from his company, Devolder LLC, and the source of campaign donations. 

“Financial disclosure laws are essential to enforce compliance with the law as well as to ensure voters have access to relevant information about candidates,” they wrote to the ethics panel. “If Mr. Santos’s 2020 and 2022 financial disclosure forms are to be believed, his salary increased from $55,000 in 2020 to $750,000 in 2022, of which he gave a whopping $705,000 to his campaign.”

They called on the committee “to investigate the veracity of these claims and whether Mr. Santos has engaged in fraudulent activity through Devolder.”

Mr. Santos faces scrutiny outside of Congress.

The U.S. attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York is investigating his finances, while the Nassau County district attorney pledged to investigate any crimes Mr. Santos may have committed when falsifying his campaign information. 

Outside of the U.S., authorities in Brazil announced they plan to re-open a fraud case against Mr. Santos, who was accused of forging checks in 2008.

Mr. Santos was sworn in on Saturday and is part of a five-seat Republican majority. 

Democrats are eager to try to force out Mr. Santos, which would not only shrink the GOP majority, but it would trigger a special election and give them an opportunity to reclaim the seat, which is in a competitive but Democrat-leaning district.

• Kerry Picket can be reached at kpicket@washingtontimes.com.

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