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There is ‘substantial evidence’ that Rep. George Santos broke the law, House panel says

Nature

WASHINGTON — The House Ethics Committee on Thursday released its highly anticipated report on its months-long investigation into Rep. George Santos, concluding that there is “substantial evidence” that the New York Republican “violated federal criminal laws,” including using campaign funds for personal use and filing false campaign reports.

The ethics subcommittee investigating Santos found “a complex web of illegal activities involving Rep. Santos’ campaign, as well as his personal and professional finances,” the scathing report said. “Representative Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his candidacy for the House for his own financial gain.”

“He blatantly stole from his campaign. He deceived donors into providing what they thought were contributions to his campaign, but were actually payments for his personal benefit. He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to entice donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign – and then diverted more campaign money for himself in the form of so-called ‘repayments’ of these fictitious loans,” continues The report.

Santos “used his relationships with high-value donors and other political campaigns” to enrich himself, the report claims. “And he supported all of this through a consistent series of lies to his constituents, donors and staff about his background and experience,” it reads.

The ethics committee said it was referring its findings, including “uncharged” conduct, to the Justice Department. He made no recommendations to the House.

The DOJ has already charged Santos with several federal counts, including identity theft, money laundering and theft of public funds. He is expected to go to trial in September and has pleaded not guilty.

Santos, meanwhile, has rejected calls for his resignation, saying his political future should be left to New York voters.

Rep. Robert Garcia, Democrat of California, said Thursday he plans to resubmit a privileged resolution to expel Santos from Congress when the House returns to Washington on Nov. 28.

Garcia, who introduced a similar resolution earlier this year, said in a statement that the ethics report makes it “clear that the Republican Party’s decision to wait 9 months to act was not only irresponsible, but dangerous.” adding that Santos “has no place.” in Congress.

The House will be forced to act on Garcia’s resolution because it is privileged. Santos survived another eviction attempt earlier this month.

This is a developing story. Please check again for updates.

Nature

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