Santos to abstain from committees amid mounting ethics probes
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Representative George Santos of New York told his GOP colleagues on Tuesday that he is temporarily stepping back from his two congressional committees, a move that comes amid a host of ethical issues and a day after meeting Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy.
Santos has faced numerous calls for his resignation and faces multiple investigations from prosecutors into his personal and campaign finances and lies about his resume and family background.
Santos was assigned to two fairly low-key panels, the House Committee on Small Business and the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Olka., said the decision was welcomed by the GOP conference, saying, “I think it was the right thing to do and I was proud of him for stepping up. got up and done this.”
McCarthy met with Santos on Monday evening, but did not disclose their conversation.
“You’ll see,” McCarthy told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Santos, meanwhile, said he would release a statement later today. When asked if he was considering quitting, Santos replied, “No, I’m not.”
Republicans called Santos’ decision voluntary. Rep. Roger Williams, chairman of the House Small Business Committee, said he had not spoken with Santos about the decision and was surprised.
“The bottom line is that he has chosen to be off the committees until his situation is handled at a level that he is comfortable with,” Williams said.
Read more: Investigations, distrust and stigma: Why George Santos may not do much in Congress
Democrats have been highly critical of Santos as well as McCarthy for his efforts to oust three Democratic lawmakers from committee assignments while nominating Santos, who has lied so deeply to his constituents about his background.
“Hypocrisy grabs you by the throat,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, R-Calif. “He’s a Republican orator who sits a human fraud, George Santos, on committees, a serial maker on every part of his existence.”
McCarthy blocked Schiff and Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., from reappointment to the House Standing Select Committee on Intelligence, though they could serve on other committees.
Associated Press writer Lisa Mascaro and video journalist Nathan Ellgren contributed to this report.
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