While New York Republicans can’t force Rep. George Santos (R-NY) to resign on his own – or get the rest of the House GOP’s thin majority to push him out – they are trying to ensure that Santos at least can’t profit off his lies.
In a Tuesday morning press conference, freshman Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) — alongside Reps. Brandon Williams (R-NY) and Nick LaLota (R-NY) — introduced the “No Fortune For Fraud” Act, aimed at ensuring current or former members of Congress convicted of fraud can not make money from book or TV deals.
“This legislation is about ensuring that elected officials who break the public’s trust are held accountable for their wrongdoings,” D’Esposito said during the press conference.
“It’s very simple. If you are defrauding the American people, if you are making a mockery out of the people’s House or violating campaign finance law, you should not be able to turn it into a payday,” he added. “Should fraudsters, like George Santos, be indicted or convicted of crimes listed in my legislation, or legislation, they won’t be able to make money from a book deal, a TV movie, ‘Dancing With The Stars’ or the next Netflix special.”
This comes as the House Ethics Committee announced on Thursday that they began a formal investigation into Santos for a handful of allegations, including “unlawful activity” during his 2022 campaign, failure to disclose all required information on House forms, possible violation of conflict of interest laws and an allegation of sexual misconduct.
The investigation is just another hurdle for the embattled congressman whose political and legal problems have been mounting since the New York Times published an explosive report in December revealing he fabricated the majority of his background and credentials, like graduating from Baruch College and working at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.
Santos has since admitted to “embellishing his resume” — including acknowledging he never “worked directly” for those companies and saying he never claimed to be Jewish, just “Jew-ish.”
Recent reports have also shown unexplained irregularities in the New York freshman’s campaign finances too, leading to multiple local and federal inquiries into the matter.
With each revelation the pressure from the New York Republicans, who have also called for him to resign, have intensified. The group has been saying for months that Santos is a distraction and a useful talking point for Democrats criticizing the Republican Party.
“He is a bludgeoning tool the Democrats are using without regard for truth. They’re lying about us in relationship to him,” Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY) — who’s a co-sponsor for the bill — told Politico. “And he’s caused us every day to have to respond to his very existence in the House of Representatives, instead of giving 100 percent of our time to the important issues that Americans and the people who sent us to Washington care about.”
“Every time that we’re having a conversation we seem to be talking about George Santos,” D’Esposito echoed, according to Politico.