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Did Republican Consultant-elect George Santos lie about his life story?

The biography of newly elected Congress member George Santos appeared fairly spectacular. The 34-year-old son of immigrants had graduated from Baruch Faculty, a public school in New York, earlier than happening to work at companies like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Santos ultimately grew to become a profitable financier who began an animal rescue charity. The issue is that biography was apparently a lie, and now he is likely to be going through not solely political penalties however authorized penalties for his wholesale innovations.

As revealed in the New York Occasions on December 19, it wasn’t simply that Santos exaggerated his résumé — he had allegedly invented it out of entire fabric.

The Occasions discovered that he apparently didn’t graduate from Baruch Faculty, he didn’t work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, there have been no data of him being a profitable financier, nor had been there of him registering his animal rescue charity. The Occasions additionally discovered that he had been charged with examine fraud in Brazil.

Additional, quite a few shops have discovered no proof of Santos’s repeated claims to be Jewish, to have Jewish heritage, or to be descended from refugees fleeing the Holocaust. Santos even described himself at one level as a “proud American Jew” in a marketing campaign place paper.

In a media tour with pleasant shops on December 26, Santos admitted to placing “slightly little bit of fluff” on his résumé. In different phrases, he conceded that he by no means graduated from school, by no means labored for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, and wasn’t Jewish (although he claimed to be “Jew-ish”). Santos disregarded mendacity about fundamental biographical info as embellishment, and he pushed again on the Occasions’s reporting about his legal cost in Brazil. “I’m not a legal,” he instructed the New York Submit.

The story has sparked one of many more unusual political scandals in American historical past. Members of Congress have dedicated homicide in workplace. Actually, a member of Congress has even killed one other member of Congress. Even within the current day, we’ve seen each scandal below the solar, from Anthony Weiner tweeting a lewd image of himself, to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s notorious Fb put up about Jewish area lasers. However it’s arduous to think about a precedent for a scandal like this as Santos faces requires his resignation from fellow Republicans and investigations into potential legal misconduct.

Who’s George Santos?

There are some issues we find out about Santos. The brazenly homosexual son of Brazilian immigrants, he was elected in November to an open congressional seat that features a skinny slice of Queens and far of the North Shore of Lengthy Island in Nassau County. Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a margin of 54 p.c to 46 p.c. This represented a serious swing from 2020 when Biden had gained the district by the identical margin. That yr, Santos ran in opposition to incumbent Tom Suozzi in an analogous district and misplaced handily by a margin of 56 p.c to 43.5 p.c.

Santos can be an ardent Trump supporter — a lot in order that he was at Trump’s Ellipse rally on January 6, 2021, and has repeatedly falsely claimed that the previous president gained the 2020 election.

Additionally, for all his alleged mendacity about his résumé, it’s clear that one firm Santos labored at, Harbor Metropolis Capital, has been accused by the Securities and Alternate Fee of being a Ponzi scheme. As for Santos’s different employment, he did spend a stint as a Portuguese language customer support agent for DISH Community a decade in the past.

Santos has additionally been accused of organising a GoFundMe that raised $3,000 to pay for lifesaving surgical procedure for the dying service canine of a disabled homeless veteran after which pocketing the cash. He responded on Twitter by claiming “the stories that I might let a canine die is stunning & insane.” Santos added, “Over the previous 24hr I’ve obtained footage of canines I helped scale back all through the years together with supportive messages.”

Santos has additionally pushed again in opposition to the declare that he wearing drag whereas dwelling in Brazil. A drag performer who goes by the identify Eula Rochard instructed a number of shops that Santos used to carry out in drag below the identify “Kitara Ravache.”

Santos mounted an aggressive denial final week on Twitter. “The newest obsession from the media claiming that I’m a drag Queen or ‘carried out’ as a drag Queen is categorically false,” mentioned the embattled New York Republican. “The media continues to make outrageous claims about my life whereas I’m working to ship outcomes.”

Ultimately, he conceded to reporters at LaGuardia Airport that he did gown in drag however that he was merely having “enjoyable at a competition.”

What don’t we all know?

We don’t know lots. This ranges from fundamental information about Santos’s biography to particulars about his dealings with the Brazilian legal justice system, and every thing in between, together with the place he really lives.

However most significantly, we don’t know the place Santos’s cash comes from. The consultant loaned his personal marketing campaign $700,000 through the 2022 cycle and claimed an revenue of $750,000. He additionally listed hundreds of thousands of {dollars} in property together with an condominium in Rio De Janeiro price as much as $1 million and a seven-figure financial savings account. It’s a serious shift in fortune for somebody who was evicted twice, in 2015 and 2017, for failing to pay lease and had been taken to courtroom for not paying money owed. Even in 2020, he reported revenue in just one class — compensation in extra of $5,000 paid by one supply — with no different property.

Santos initially supplied no info on his funds on his media tour, besides to concede that he owned no property. He had beforehand claimed on Twitter to be a landlord who owned 13 properties. The consultant ultimately claimed in an interview with Semafor that his newfound wealth got here from “capital introduction” the place he helped dealer offers for the rich. Santos used a yacht sale for example of how he earned a dwelling, “In case you’re taking a look at a $20 million yacht, my referral charge there could be wherever between $200,000 and $400,000.”

What occurs now?

Santos is already being investigated by federal and native prosecutors whereas the workplace of New York Lawyer Normal Letitia James has been “trying into a few of the points which have come out.” Additional, a grievance has been filed with the Federal Election Fee (FEC) by the nonpartisan Marketing campaign Authorized Heart alleging Santos illegally hid the supply of the cash he loaned his marketing campaign via a straw donor scheme and different alleged violations, together with whether or not he used marketing campaign funds to pay for private bills. The Washington Submit reported Friday that the Justice Division has requested the FEC to carry off any enforcement actions in order that it may pursue a legal investigation.

Though Santos had initially accepted an project from Home GOP management to take a seat on the science and small enterprise committees, he introduced on January 31 in a gathering of Republican lawmakers that he would step apart from these positions. The announcement got here solely a day after a closed-door assembly with McCarthy.

Dan Goldman, a fellow consultant from New York and a former prosecutor, has urged that Santos face legal investigation for conspiracy to defraud the US in addition to submitting false statements to the FEC.

In a December interview with Vox, Goldman shied away from weighing in on whether or not Santos ought to be denied his seat in Congress. “I believe the larger query shouldn’t be whether or not I believe George Santos ought to be a member of Congress. The larger query is whether or not Kevin McCarthy and the Republican management assume that George Santos ought to be a member of Congress.”

Quite a lot of Santos’s fellow Republicans have referred to as on him to resign as nicely. The Nassau County Republican Celebration, lengthy thought-about probably the most highly effective county celebration in New York, referred to as on Santos to step down as produce other fellow New York Republicans, together with Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Mike Lawler, Nick Langworthy, and Brandon Williams. Joe Cairo, the chair of the Nassau County GOP, instructed reporters, “George Santos’ marketing campaign final yr was a marketing campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication” whereas demanding his resignation.

Rep. Max Miller (R-OH), considered one of solely two Jewish Republicans within the Home and a longtime Trump White Home aide, referred to as on Santos to resign in mid-January, and cited the New York Republican’s lies about his household ties to the Holocaust in doing so. Republican management has equivocated, with McCarthy acknowledging that whereas Santos has “a protracted technique to go to earn belief” and nonetheless has to face investigation by the Home Ethics Committee, Santos continues to be “part of the Republican convention.” However McCarthy acknowledged to reporters on Wednesday that if the Ethics Committee discovered that Santos broke the legislation, the New York Republican ought to be ousted from Congress.

Nevertheless, as of now, McCarthy wants Santos nearly as a lot as Santos wants McCarthy. McCarthy solely grew to become speaker by the pores and skin of his enamel on the fifteenth poll. With a slender majority — and the probability of frequent member absences now that the Home has gotten rid of proxy voting — McCarthy wants each vote he can get.

Additional, as a result of Santos represents some of the Democratic seats in Congress held by a Republican, forcing him to resign below any circumstance is dangerous. It could be a troublesome seat for a Republican to carry in a particular election and a loss would additional imperil an already slim GOP majority.

Within the meantime, it’s a matter of ready for the following shoe to drop. As unsustainable as the present establishment might sound, the one impetus proper now for Santos to resign can be a way of disgrace, and it appears unlikely that he carries that burden.

Replace, January 31, 10:45 am ET: This story was initially printed on December 21, 2022, and has been up to date a number of occasions, most not too long ago with information of Santos stepping down from committee assignments.



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