Feb 5, 2023 - Politics & Policy

George Santos accused of sexual harassment by prospective staffer

Rep. George Santos

Rep. George Santos leaves the Capitol Hill Club as members of the press follow him on Jan. 31. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) has been accused of sexual harassment and ethics violations by a prospective staffer who briefly worked in Santos' office.

Driving the news: In a letter to the House Committee on Ethics on Friday, the former aide, Derek Myers, claimed that he had been put to work in Santos' office as a volunteer, in violation of ethics rules, and outlined an instance of sexual harassment. Myers shared a copy of the letter on Twitter.

  • Myers alleged that on Jan. 25, Santos asked him if he had a profile on Grindr, the popular LGBTQ+ dating app, before revealing that he himself had a profile.
  • Later that day, Myers wrote that he was alone with Santos in his office reviewing mail from constituents when the congressman "insisted I sit next to him on a small sofa."
  • Myers alleged that Santos put his hand on his leg and invited him out for karaoke, which Myers said he declined. He wrote that Santos then moved his hand "into my inner thigh and proceeded to touch my groin" while telling Myers that his husband was out of town.
  • Myers said he pushed Santos' hand away and returned to his desk shortly thereafter.

State of play: Myers also wrote that he had been offered a job in Santos' office on Jan. 23, but had been made to work as a volunteer — in violation of ethics rules — until all of the relevant paperwork was processed.

  • On Jan. 30, Myers wrote that he was called into Santos' office and questioned about his "background as a journalist" and other matters that he had already disclosed to hiring managers prior to receiving a job offer.
  • Myers had been charged with wiretapping in Ohio last year after publishing recorded court testimony. The Committee to Protect Journalists has called for all charges to be dropped.
  • On Feb. 1, Myers wrote that he was told his job offer had been rescinded.
  • Santos told Semafor on Thursday that his office had been in the process of hiring Myers but paused after learning of the wiretapping charges.
  • Santos' office has not responded to a request for comment from Axios.

The big picture: Myers wrote on Twitter on Friday that he had filed a police report with the Capitol Police and sent a letter to the House Ethics Committee "regarding ethical violations and sexual harassment by Congressman George Santos during my time working in his office."

  • "These matters will not be litigated on social media or through news media. They are serious offenses and the evidence and facts will speak for themselves if the committee takes up the matter. This tweet is being made public in light of transparency," he added.
  • Myers wrote in the letter that he was seeking an investigation into Santos.
  • While Myers' account could not be corroborated, a spokesperson for Rep. Susan Wild (D-Pa.), ranking member of the House Ethics Committee, confirmed to the New York Times that her office had received Myers' letter.
  • The Capitol Police did not respond to requests for comment from Axios.
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