The House Ethics Committee unanimously found “substantial evidence” that Rep. George Santos (R-NY) committed federal crimes, it said in a Thursday report which portrayed the congressman as a “fabulist” and “high roller” who spent campaign money on botox, trips to Las Vegas and Atlantic City, and designer clothing.
Santos “blatantly stole from his campaign” and “cannot be trusted,” the committee report said.
About an hour after the report’s release, Santos responded to it with a tweet saying he would not seek re-election next year, but not before blasting the investigation as “biased” and complaining of his legal bills. Santos didn’t return a request for comment via text, including asking whether he wanted to specifically refute any allegations.
The 56-page report provides a salacious overview of the most stunning allegations in the Santos repertoire, leading to findings from the panel that Santos likely committed campaign finance violations by filing false reports with the FEC, engaged in fraudulent conduct with respect to a political consulting firm he ran, and hid critical information on his financial disclosure filings.
The committee said that the congressman did not fully cooperate with its investigation and added that it was recommending that the results of its probe be referred to the Justice Department.
TPM first reported a series of allegations laid out in the report, including that the panel was focusing on Santos persuading other Republican campaigns to use a political consulting firm he ran without disclosing his own role. TPM first reported that donors to Santos reported unauthorized credit card charges after contributing to his campaign, and extensively documented bizarre filings in his federal and state political action committees.
Santos, the panel said, failed to fully comply with the investigation. The panel issued 37 subpoenas and 47 voluntary requests for information, interviewing more than 40 witnesses.
Santos was not one of them, the report said. He only provided a partial response to a request for information after what the committee described as “lengthy delays.” In the end, the panel said that it declined to issue a subpoena for Santos’ testimony in part because it believed that anything he told them “would have low evidentiary value given his admitted practice of embellishment.”
But overall, the report provides extensive new allegations about how Santos sought to fool the public, federal campaign regulators, and other campaigns, and how he spent the funds he took in.
Take the case of RedStone Strategies, a Florida-based company which Santos formed in 2021. House ethics investigators, repeating allegations made in an October federal indictment of Santos, said that the congressman tricked two donors into transferring a combined $50,000 to the firm by directing a staffer to tell them that the company was an “independent expenditure committee” set up to help his campaign.
Santos, the report says, then received $50,000 in transfers from RedStone to his personal bank account. He then spent the money on luxury brand Hermes, erotic video site Only Fans, at Sephora, and to pay down credit card bills.
The panel noted a few instances where it did not pursue investigation because, it said, it didn’t want to impinge on the ongoing DOJ probe. That included allegations, first reported by TPM, that Santos ran donors’ credit cards without their permission.
But apart from the wild expenses, the outrageous lies, and sheer griftiness of it all, the panel took a moment to offer a blunter castigation of Santos’ behavior.
His conduct, the panel said, “warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.”
Read the report here: