Two New York lawmakers have filed a complaint against Rep. George Santos with the House Committee on Ethics related to questions about his finances and the disclosure forms he filed with the House clerk.
Reps. Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman filed the complaint with the bipartisan committee on Tuesday morning, alleging that Santos submitted late and unverified financial disclosure forms in connection with income from the Devolder Organization, a financial firm that allegedly serves as a go-between for investment funds and wealthy investors.
Santos, who was elected to represent the 3rd Congressional District that includes portions of Queens and Nassau counties, has faced increasing scrutiny over a growing list of falsehoods he made about his background during his congressional campaign.
“He earned millions of dollars from clients but he never disclosed the names of those clients on his congressional financial disclosure, as required by federal law,” said Torres during an interview on “The Brian Lehrer Show.” “So we’re calling on the ethics committee to investigate him for likely falsifying his congressional disclosure.”
Santos filed a financial disclosure form with the House clerk during his first campaign for office in 2020, which listed income of $55,000. Two years later, his form listed a salary of $750,000 from the Devolder Organization, along with anywhere from $3 million to $11.5 million in additional assets.
The latest complaint comes a day after a nonprofit campaign finance watchdog filed its own complaint with the Federal Election Commission claiming Santos made a series of serious violations of campaign finance law. The Campaign Legal Center alleged that Santos masked funds through a straw donor scheme, violated mandatory disclosure requirements and misused campaign funds for personal expenses.
“It’s one thing to lie, which is wrong. It is something else to fabricate your whole political existence,” Torres said.
Santos has admitted to fabricating portions of his personal history, including where he went to school, where he worked, and his religion. But he’s been dogged more recently about questions relating to his personal and campaign finances.
Santos’s attorney Joe Murray declined to comment, and his spokesperson has not yet replied to a request for comment.
Once the complaint is filed, Torres said the committee will need to determine if it will conduct an investigation. It’s unclear when the committee will make that decision. If it decides to proceed with an investigation, it will be conducted confidentially. The committee will decide if the allegations are worthy of penalty. Then the committee could recommend sanctions, including expulsion. The House has only ever expelled five members of Congress and 15 U.S. senators.
On top of the ongoing investigations, Torres is also introducing legislation inspired by Santos and the series of mistruths he told about his background. The bill is called the SANTOS Act, or “Stop another non-truthful office seeker,” which would require candidates to disclose their educational, professional and military history in writing, under the penalty of perjury.
The new ethics complaint will be filed a day after House Republicans passed a major overhaul of the House rules, which dictate how the chamber will function under their new majority. Goldman blasted the package and how it will hamstring another ethics body in the House, the independent Office of Congressional Ethics.
“This package includes a rule that would gut the Office of Congressional Ethics, a body responsible for fulfilling the House of Representatives’ obligation to hold itself accountable to the ethical standards this body demands,” Goldman said in a statement on Monday night. “And of course, they are doing this just in time to protect their favorite fraud, George Santos.”