Just weeks after being appointed to two House committees, beleaguered New York Congressman George Santos is stepping down from those assignments amid investigations into his personal and campaign finances.
In a statement Tuesday, Jan. 31, the freshman Republican lawmaker said he had submitted a request to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to be "temporarily recused" from his assignments to the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, and the Small Business Committee "until I am cleared."
"This was a decision that I take very seriously. The business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare," Santos said in the statement.
"It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York’s Third Congressional District and providing federal level representation without distraction.”
Santos, who represents the 3rd District on Long Island’s North Shore and parts of Queens, went on to thank McCarthy for allowing him to take time to "clear my name before returning to my committees."
"To my constituents, I remain committed to serving the district, and delivering results for both New York's Third Congressional District and for the American people."
The news of Santos' decision was first reported on Twitter by Jake Sherman of Punchbowl News late Tuesday morning, Jan. 31.
Shortly after the announcement, House Democratic Chair Rep. Peter Aguilar, of California, told reporters he was "struck by the chaos, confusion, and dysfunction of the Republican conference."
"They defended putting him on committees and now they’re announcing that he’s not going to serve on a committee so I just don’t understand what the play of the day is," Aguilar said.
With his seat on the Science, Space and Technology Committee, Santos had jurisdiction over several federal agencies, including NASA and National Science Foundation.
The committee also has authority over research and development at the Department of Energy, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Department of Transportation (DOT), and the National Weather Service.
Santos has found himself embroiled in controversy since admitting that he lied about much of his background in the lead-up to the 2022 midterm elections, including where he previously worked and went to school.
Since being sworn into office on Saturday, Jan. 7, Santos has seen House Democrats file a complaint against him with the House Ethics Committee demanding an investigation into his financial disclosure reports.
A nonprofit group has also filed a formal complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC), accusing Santos of illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses and hiding the sources of his campaign donations.
Santos is also facing investigations by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
A recent Siena College poll found that among New York’s registered voters, nearly two-thirds of Democrats and 59 percent of independents think Santos should resign. A strong plurality of Republicans, 49 percent, also said he should step down. Just 17 percent of voters think he should remain in office.
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