House Ethics Committee Expands Investigation Into Santos, Won’t Pause Inquiry Amid DOJ Case 

UNITED STATES - JANUARY 25: Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
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The House Ethics Committee announced on Thursday that the panel has ramped up its investigation into embattled Rep. George Santos (R-NY), issuing more than 30 subpoenas and expanding the scope of its inquiry after the Justice Department charged him with 13 criminal counts last month. 

​​In March, the Ethics Committee announced it was opening a formal investigation to look into whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity” during his 2022 election campaign. For months now, the investigation has been ongoing but until today the committee has been largely silent about the progress of its probe.

In a Thursday statement, the committee revealed the bipartisan group of lawmakers have been been looking into whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”

Santos has been under close scrutiny since late last year, when he admitted to “embellishing” parts of his resume while on the campaign trail — including acknowledging he never “worked directly” for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup and saying he never claimed to be Jewish, just “Jew-ish.”

Since then his alleged lies — which he has publicly admitted to — and potential crimes have been racking up.

In May, the first-term congressman pleaded not guilty to a 13-count federal indictment that included seven counts of wire fraud, three counts of money laundering, one count of theft of public funds, and two counts of making materially false statements to the House of Representatives. Santos pleaded not guilty to all federal charges against him and was released on a $500,000 bond – which we learned Thursday was guaranteed by his father and aunt.

Since then, according to the Thursday statement, the Ethics Committee has also added allegations that the New York Republican fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits to their investigation.

The committee, which typically temporarily suspends its investigations if the Justice Department is looking into the same matter, also announced their investigation will be ongoing as prosecutors continue their work.

“The Committee is aware of the risks associated with dual investigations and is in communication with the Department of Justice to mitigate the potential risks while still meeting the Committee’s obligations to safeguard the integrity of the House,” the panel wrote.

The unorthodox update from the panel comes more than a month after House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) successfully avoided putting his caucus on the record on Santos when he called on the Ethics Committee to move rapidly and come back to Congress with a decision on whether the embattled congressman should be expelled from the House of Representatives after House Democrats tried to force a floor vote to expel the freshman lawmaker.

Democrats’ resolution to expel ultimately didn’t go anywhere after Republicans filed a motion to refer the matter to the House Ethics Committee, which passed with a 221-204 party line vote. 

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