Jan 15, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Dems ask GOP leaders to cooperate with George Santos probes

Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik

Kevin McCarthy and Elise Stefanik in May 2021. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Two House Democrats from New York on Sunday issued a call to Republican leaders to cooperate fully with investigations into Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) amid reporting that certain GOP leaders were at least partially aware of Santos' litany of falsehoods.

Driving the news: Santos has become a political flashpoint — with a large swath of Republicans calling for his resignation — after revelations he fabricated vast portions of his resume and probes into his financial disclosures, campaign finances and outstanding legal issues.

  • New reporting from the New York Times published Friday revealed that Santos' trail of falsehoods was known about in late 2021, when his campaign commissioned a preemptive vulnerability study to identify information that political opponents might seize upon.
  • The study turned up some of the falsehoods that have since become public, including Santos' fraudulent claims of having academic degrees he never received, per the Times.
  • "Mr. Santos inspired no shortage of suspicion during his 2022 campaign, including in the upper echelons of his own party," the Times wrote.
  • "Well-connected supporters suspected him of lying and demanded to see his résumé. Another former campaign vendor warned a state party official about what he believed were questionable business practices. And the head of the main House Republican super PAC told some lawmakers and donors that he believed Mr. Santos’s story did not add up," the Times added.

State of play: Reps. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) issued a letter Sunday to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Chair of the House Republican Caucus Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), and Congressional Leadership Fund president Dan Conston calling on them to cooperate with the investigations into Santos.

  • "In light of recent public reporting indicating that each of you had at least some knowledge of the web of lies used by Congressman George Santos to deceive his voters long before they became public, we write to request that you proactively and forthrightly cooperate with all current and future investigations into Mr. Santos, including the investigation by the House Committee on Ethics that Speaker McCarthy confirmed this week," the letter stated.
  • "It is one thing for a candidate such as Mr. Santos to induce voters to support him based on a web of lies. But it is altogether something else if the top levels of Republican leadership knew about Mr. Santos’s lies during the campaign and chose to be complicit," it added.
  • "The American people also have a right to know whether Republican leadership, including each of you, was complicit in perpetrating this fraud on the voters," per the letter.
  • Goldman and Torres last week filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Santos.

Representatives of McCarthy and Stefanik did not immediately respond to an Axios' request for comment.

What they're saying: Goldman told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that he and Torres sent the letter to McCarthy, Stefanik and Conston because of the Times' "bombshell reporting" showed that "they all knew about Mr. Santos' lies prior to the election."

  • "George Santos is a complete and total fraud. Everything that he said about himself on the campaign trail, nearly everything, has proven to be a lie. His financial disclosures have clear false statements and omissions," Goldman added.

Go deeper: All the House Republicans who have called for George Santos to resign

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