Several freshman members of Congress are targeting embattled New York Rep. George Santos, a member of their own party, hoping to ensure that he can’t turn a profit should he be convicted of a crime.
Speaking at a press conference outside the US Capitol on Tuesday, March 7, Republican New York Rep. Anthony D’Esposito - whose 4th District includes parts of Nassau County - announced that he was sponsoring legislation meant to bar current and former House members from profiting off their story should they violate election laws and other federal statutes.
The proposals, dubbed the “No Fame for Fraud Resolution” and the “No Fortune for Fraud Act,” would apply to any House member, though backers made it clear that they have one specific member in mind.
“Should fraudsters like George Santos be indicted or convicted of crimes listed in my legislation — our legislation — they won’t be able to make money from a book deal, a TV movie, Dancing with the Stars, or the next Netflix special,” D’Esposito told reporters.
“George Santos is a scam artist, and we New York Republicans are here to stop him,” 1st District Rep. Nick LaLota added.
The bill is being co-sponsored by New York Reps. Nick LaLota, Mike Lawler, Marc Molinaro, Nick Langworthy, and Brandon Williams.
Tuesday’s announcement came days after the House Ethics Committee revealed it had opened a formal investigation into Santos, whose 3rd District covers Nassau County and parts of Queens.
In a statement Thursday, March 2, the committee announced it was working to determine whether the freshman Republican lawmaker, whose 3rd District covers Nassau County and parts of Queens, had committed the following:
- 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
- Engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office
Santos addressed the probe on his official House Twitter account, saying, “The House Committee on Ethics has opened an investigation, and Congressman George Santos is fully cooperating. There will be no further comment made at this time.”
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.
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.
He 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.
In February 2023, congressional aide Derek Myers filed a police report and complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics accusing Santos of sexually harassing him while the two worked alone in an office.
Myers also accused Santos’ office of violating House ethics rules after allegedly having him perform unpaid work before he was on the payroll.
“Since this, I have learned that such volunteer work within a congressional office without the correct procedures being followed is a violation of the house ethics..." he said.
A Siena College poll released Monday, Feb. 27, found that 66 percent of registered voters in New York think Santos should resign from Congress, up from 59 percent in January.
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