With a pile of criminal charges, a scathing House Ethics Committee report, and mounting calls for his expulsion, Rep. George Santos (R-NY) has a lot to worry about. However, amid all of the drama that has blown up since his election last year, at least the embattled lawmaker has taken care of his aesthetic concerns.
According to the report from Ethics Committee investigators that was released on Thursday, as Santos allegedly engaged in “unlawful” schemes to siphon money from his campaign and a political consulting firm, he spent thousands of dollars on cosmetic services including “Botox.”
We spoke to one of the medical professionals who, according to the report, got under Santos’ skin: Dr. Muhammad Mirza, a botox provider with a Manhattan practice. Dr. Mirza said that he didn’t recall seeing Santos as a patient, but spoke freely about his cosmetic advice for the congressman and shared his thoughts on skincare options for anyone else who is facing political scandals or criminal charges.
Per the report, Santos allegedly used his campaign debit card for a “$1,500 purchase…made at Mirza Aesthetics” during the 2020 campaign. Santos’ former campaign treasurer listed the charge as “Botox” in documents she provided the committee. Mirza Aesthetics is run by Dr. Mirza and offers Botox treatments as well as Juvederm fillers. TPM reached out to Dr. Mirza to ask about his recollections of Santos and his skincare advice for anyone enduring political and legal pressure.
“I don’t recall seeing him. This has been four years ago now. This is in the public domain, so I’m saying, if it’s in the public domain, I saw him,” Dr. Mira said of Santos, before adding, “Certainly, these are challenging times for him going through the criminal justice system and I hope things get better for him. … With all these kind of pressures and the media attention it does create, you know, psychological pressure which may not be good for his health or anybody’s health as a matter of fact.”
Santos previously discussed his predilection for Botox in leaked audio that was obtained by TPM earlier this year. Following the release of the bombshell Ethics Committee report, Santos took to the site formerly known as Twitter to blast the panel’s findings as “a disgusting politicized smear” and to vow that he would refuse to speak with reporters. However, just about three hours after he declared, “the communication door is closed, shut, and sealed,” Santos responded to a text from TPM when we told him we spoke with Dr. Mirza. Santos suggested Mirza had broken healthcare rules.
“Thanks for letting me know he violated HIPAA privacy,” Santos wrote.
Santos did not respond to subsequent questions about how he is maintaining a skincare routine in the spotlight.
Dr. Mirza did not discuss Santos’ treatment. But he did offer his thoughts on why a politician might seek out Botox.
“If you read Freud, sex is the most important stimulus in our lives. So, from that perspective, we all want to look better than what we are. And there is intense social media pressure on us,” Dr. Mirza said. “There is tremendous pressure on both sexes to look a certain way and that triggers clients to seek different kind of aesthetic services, including but not limited to Botox.”
Along with Botox “wrinkle-busters,” Mirza Aesthetics offers Juvederm fillers. In his conversation with TPM, Dr. Mirza said he has been providing aesthetic services for about a decade and that he was drawn to the business both for the “artistic component” and the “economics” of the growing, lucrative field.
Though he emphasized that he did not recall treating Santos, Dr. Mirza noted that being in the midst of political drama could lead to stress lines. While he suggested these wrinkles could be mitigated with Botox and fillers, Dr. Mirza also advocated a more holistic approach.
“You can do Botox, you know, you can do fillers, obviously. We are an obese society by and large an average … male in the country is around, I believe, 200 pounds. So, that’s way higher than the body mass index recommendations. The more you weigh, you know, the more it will show on your face,” Dr. Mirza said, adding, “There’s tremendous stress on all of us … that contributes towards the aging process and I could imagine somebody going through public limelight in terms of Congress, congressional races, certainly there will be a lot of psychological stress at the very least.”
Dr. Mirza is no stranger to legal drama. Mirza reportedly had his New Jersey medical license suspended in 2021 over allegations that he had botched penile and breast enhancements, and that he allegedly performed medical procedures without a mask or gloves. Mirza also pleaded guilty this year to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud over a scheme to submit $1.3 million in false medical claims to Amtrak.
Dr. Mirza declined to comment on the legal matters to TPM, saying only that he was aware of the accusations.
Due to the criminal charges against Santos, the congressman is facing the possibility of federal prison time. Dr. Mirza said he would recommend a “back to basics” approach for anyone who is entering a correctional facility and is concerned about their skin. This includes working on general health with weight loss, cancer screenings, and blood tests.
“Anybody going in the criminal justice system for a custodial sentence, assume you won’t be getting healthcare for some amount of time … and prepare it accordingly,” Dr. Mirza said. “The least thing that I would be concerned about going on a custodial sentence would be wrinkles on my forehead or deflated lips. I would either be more concerned about bonafide health conditions.”
Dr. Mirza also suggested taking care of aesthetics could help Santos as he stands trial.
“I think from a jury trial perspective, the way I look at it — and there are studies to back it up — is a better looking person gets a lighter sentence,” Dr. Mirza explained.
Overall, Dr. Mirza offered no personal judgment or criticism for Santos. The doctor turned somewhat philosophical as he connected both Botox treatments and legal consequences.
“We go through an evolutionary cycle right from birth to death. And some people accept it, some people want to look aesthetically more presentable,” Dr. Mirza said. “So, I think it comes down to what your individual choices are about it. … Life essentially, at the end of the day, is a sum of choices, you know, what choices we make. There are certainly repercussions for all the choices that we make in our life; good, bad, and ugly.”