Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has recused himself from serving on any House committees, according to several reports.
The scandal-plagued freshman told House Republicans that he’ll be taking a step back because “he’s a distraction,” an anonymous lawmaker told the Washington Post. The announcement was made in a closed GOP conference on Tuesday morning.
He will reportedly be stepping down from his assignments on the House Small Business Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee, CNN reported.
The embattled congressman has become the subject of several investigations since his resume was exposed as fraudulent back in December. Soon after the New York Times’ original exposé, local prosecutors in New York began conducting criminal probes to see whether he committed any financial crimes. Meanwhile, Brazilian authorities revived an alleged check fraud case from 2008, which has been stagnant since Santos allegedly fled to the United States.
Most recently he’s fallen under the eye of federal authorities as well: Last week, the Washington Post revealed that the Justice Department asked the Federal Election Commission to hold off on any enforcement actions against Santos. The FEC and DOJ are reportedly conducting parallel investigations. The DOJ also requested that the regulatory agency share any documents it has that might be relevant to Santos’ campaign finances.
Santos has come under fire for “embellishing,” in his words, big chunks of his resumé during his campaign for Congress last year. He’s reportedly lied about attending Baruch College, where he claimed he graduated summa cum laude and that he was a star volleyball player; working at top financial institutions like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup; and even being Jewish. He also worked at alleged ponzi scheme Harbor City Capital, where he served as New York regional director.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) told CNN Tuesday that it was Santos’s decision to “abstain” from his committees as GOP leadership attempts to oust Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MI) from the Foreign Affairs Committee. Democrats have pointed to Santos’ sustained presence on his panels as hypocritical as House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) plots booting Omar from hers and after blocking California Reps. Adam Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell from their respective committees.
Last Wednesday, Santos told reporters that he would hold a press conference soon to answer “all the questions” about his embellished background.
“We’re going to be doing a nice sit-down with everybody, so it will be fantastic to address every single issue when we get there,” he said. “We’re working on it.”
He has yet to schedule that press conference.
When asked whether House Speaker Kevin McCarthy forced him to step down, Santos denied the accusation. “Nobody tells me to do anything,” he told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I made the decision on my own that I thought best represented the interest of the voters.”
This article initially mischaracterized the charges against Santos in Brazil. TPM regrets this error.