House Ethics Committee: ‘Substantial evidence’ George Santos used campaign funds for personal use

Republican Rep. George Santos announced that he will not seek re-election to the House of Representatives next year after the Ethics Commission released its long-awaited report Thursday, concluding that there is “substantial evidence” that the New York congressman used campaign funds for used for personal purposes. .

According to the report, Santos committed “knowing and willful violations” regarding financial disclosure statements filed with the House of Representatives, and “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission.”

A statement from the committee accompanying the report said the panel voted unanimously in favor of the report. The commission said it has uncovered additional “uncharged and unlawful conduct” by Santos that goes beyond the criminal charges already pending against him and would immediately refer those allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation .

Santos announced in a statement that he will not seek re-election following the publication of the ethics report, although he remained defiant in light of the allegations against him and denounced the investigation, calling it a “biased report.”

“It is a disgustingly politicized smear that shows how low our federal government has sunk. Everyone who participated in this grave miscarriage of justice should all be ashamed of themselves,” Santos wrote about the report in a post on constantly under fire from the press.

The panel concluded that Santos “attempted to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his candidacy for the House of Representatives for his own personal financial gain.”

The panel said the congressman’s conduct “deserves public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought serious disrepute to the House.”

Santos declined a voluntary interview and did not submit a written response to the Ethics Panel’s allegations.

But the committee decided not to issue a subpoena to Santos because of the likelihood that he would invoke his Fifth Amendment rights and that his testimony “would have low probative value given his acknowledged practice of beautification.”

The panel also said Santos “did not fully cooperate” with the investigation.

The release of the report is the latest blow to the New York Republican, who has separately pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including charges of fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misuse of campaign funds and lying about his personal finances upon disclosure of the House of Representatives. reports. Santos has remained defiant in the face of the mounting legal problems he faces.