WASHINGTON — Two top Long Island Republicans have called on the House Ethics Committee to investigate Congressman-elect George Santos, a day after the embattled politician admitted in a series of interviews that he lied about his education and work experience.
Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and incoming Rep. Nick LaLotta (R-Bay Shore) told Newsday that congressional investigators should look into Santos’ record, which was called into question after a New York Times investigation found a number of loopholes in his biography advertised in the campaign.
“I think he is entitled to a hearing with [House] Ethics Commission and that they should do a thorough investigation to see if he violated any laws or any ethics rules,” Blakeman said in an interview. “I think we should let the process play out, which I think it will. quite quickly. ”
LaLotta, who is part of the class of freshman lawmakers scheduled to be sworn in with Santos on Jan. 3, said in a statement to Newsday that he believes a “full investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, enforcement . ”
WHAT TO KNOW
- Two top Long Island Republicans called on the House Ethics Committee to investigate Congressman-elect George Santos a day after he admitted to lying about his education and work experience.
- Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Congressman-elect Nick LaLotta (R-Bay Shore) told Newsday that congressional investigators should look into the Santos file.
- Other Long Island GOP leaders also criticized However, Santos stopped short of calling for him to resign after he defended his actions in media interviews as “embellishing his CV”.
“New Yorkers deserve the truth and House Republicans deserve an opportunity to govern without these distractions,” LaLotta said.
Other Long Island GOP leaders also continued to criticize Santos, but stopped short of calling for him to resign after he defended his actions in media interviews as “embellishing his resume.”
Nassau Republican Party Chairman Joseph Cairo said in a statement Tuesday that while Santos “has violated the public trust by making serious misrepresentations about his background,” he should still serve out his term in Congress.
“He has a lot of work to do to regain the trust of the voters and everyone he represents in Congress,” Cairo said.
Questions also remain about the source of Santos’ income through a private firm and the source of $700,000 he loaned his campaign in his second bid for New York’s Third Congressional District.
Santos, 34, admitted in an interview with the New York Post published Monday that he had never graduated from “any college,” though he previously touted degrees from Baruch College and New York University.
Santos was forced to defend his background after a Times investigation published last week outlined a number of inconsistencies with the biography he touted on the campaign trail as a college-educated, wealthy business owner whose family owned 13 properties. Public records show no record of his family owning property in the area, the Times reported, but he has been ordered by the courts to pay $12,000 in unpaid rent for an apartment in Sunnyside, Queens.
Santos, who defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in November, also admitted to the Post that he never worked directly for Citigroup or Goldman Sachs, as he previously claimed on his campaign website.
“My sins here adorn my resume. I’m sorry,” Santos said Monday.
Cairo and others also disputed Santos’ previous claims that his maternal grandparents were Jews who fled to Brazil from Belgium to escape the Holocaust.
North Hempstead Town Manager Jen DeSena said in a statement, “I am particularly offended that he fabricated a family history regarding the Holocaust. Our Jewish neighbors, like all our residents, deserve better. Now, Mr. Santos must be honest and accountable to the public going forward if he truly wants to repair the damage he has caused.”
Santos, in a Nov. 22 interview with the Jewish News Syndicate, said his maternal grandfather “escaped Stalin’s persecutionin the Ukraine, finding refuge and a wife in Belgium before fleeing Hitler’s rule. In a campaign video, he described his grandparents as Holocaust survivors.
A report last week by Jewish Insider, citing a national Brazilian identification database and other genealogical records, suggested that his maternal grandparents were born in Brazil.
On Monday, Santos told the Post, “I have never claimed to be Jewish. I am Catholic. Since I learned that my maternal family was of Jewish descent, I said I was “Jewish.”
Republican Jewish Coalition CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement that Santos “deceived us and misrepresented his heritage. In public comments and to us personally, he previously claimed to be Jewish. He started his term in Congress on a very wrong note. He will not be welcome at any future RJC event.”
Former Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park), a former NYPD detective, urged Santos to “follow the path of honesty.”
“Long Island neighbors are deeply hurt and rightfully offended by the lies and misrepresentations made by Congressman-elect George Santos,” D’Esposito said. “His fabrications about the Holocaust and his family’s history are particularly offensive.
Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport), a second-term House member who will become the senior member of the Long Island delegation in January, “cannot comment at this time” because he is a member of the House ethics subcommittee, his spokeswoman said Kristen Cianzi.
House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy did not respond to requests for comment.
Zimmerman told Newsday on Tuesday, “If George Santos is indeed his real name, he should resign immediately because of the fraud he has perpetrated on the voters of the Third Congressional District.”
Zimmerman added that Santos must “run against me in a special election and face the voters about his true past and answer questions about his criminal history. Let the voters decide based on the truth.”
New York Democratic Party Chairman Jay Jacobs, who also chairs the Nassau Democratic Party, continued to call for a full audit of Santos’ finances.
Campaign finance records show Santos has given his campaign a total of $700,000. He reported receiving a salary of $750,000 on his federal candidate financial disclosure form this year — a significant increase from the $5,000 compensation he reported in 2020. In this year’s return, Santos reported that his income came from the organization Devolder, a private company incorporated in Florida that he said is valued between $1 million and $5 million. He previously stated on his campaign website that the firm was owned by his family and controlled $80 million in assets, but that claim has since been deleted from his website.
The company has an estimated value of $43,688, according to a July analysis by financial data firm Dun & Bradstreet reviewed by The Washington Post. As a private company, Devolder is not required to release public financial statements, but Dun & Bradstreet used “modeling” and “data science” to determine the company’s value, according to the Post.
“I think his bigger problem, which he still hasn’t answered, is how is it possible that information that he still hasn’t given him has the ability to lend his campaign $700,000 of his own money?” Jacobs said. “I think that’s where his real problems lie. And we need to get to the bottom of this matter.”
Asked about his experience in the financial sector during an interview with Fox News on Tuesday night, Santos said: ““We can have that discussion — it’s going to go way over the heads of the American people.”
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