We can all rest easy knowing accountability is in the unassailable hands of the newly minted Republican House leadership.
Scalise’s remarks come the same day that Democratic lawmakers actually did something tangible about the fact that there’s a freshman member of Congress who was just sworn in after admitting he lied about basically everything he’s ever said and done.
Two New York Democrats filed an official complaint with the House Ethics Committee, asking the panel to launch an investigation in Rep. George Santos (R-NY) amid new revelations about his financial disclosures. Democratic Reps. Ritchie Torres (NY) and Daniel Goldman (NY) (a name you might remember, he’s a freshman who previously served as lead counsel for the House impeachment managers during Trump’s first impeachment trial) asked the committee to review whether the lawmaker broke the law by not only filing his disclosure late, but also filing it without key information about his assets.
Additionally, on Monday, the Campaign Legal Center filed an official complaint with the FEC about a number of issues with Santos’ financial reporting, including allegations that he misused campaign funds and concealed where certain campaign funds came from.
Much of the most recent drama surrounding Santos’ finances is of Santos’ own making. Santos reported that he owns a $1 million apartment in Rio de Janeiro, but then weeks later told the New York Post he doesn’t own property. Other issues with his disclosure, according to the watchdog complaint, include allegedly omitting details about his salary, dividends and clients.
“Congressman Torres and I feel it’s incredibly important to make sure that the integrity of the House and the integrity of its members are put front, first and foremost,” Goldman told the New York Times, which was first to report on the Torres and Goldman complaint.
The two lawmakers asked the panel to look into whether Santos violated the Ethics in Government Act, a Watergate-era anti-corruption law.
It is unclear whether the bipartisan committee will act on the Democrats’ request or if there would even be repercussions if it did. The panel is “is not known for doling out significant punishments. Congress rarely takes serious disciplinary action against fellow members, unless their behavior rises to the level of a federal crime,” in the Times’ words.
It also comes as House Republicans are trying to hollow out the committee’s power via rule changes now that the party has the majority.
Torres and Goldman are not the first lawmakers to go after Santos since his repeated and ongoing and sometimes-frivolous, sometimes-not lies have come to light. Last month his fellow freshman Republican from New York, Rep. Nick LaLota, called for a “full investigation by the House ethics committee and, if necessary, law enforcement” into Santos’ embellishments and actions.
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