Two Democratic lawmakers from New York demanded on Sunday that GOP leaders “fully cooperate” with all investigations into freshman Rep. George Santos, the Republican who admitted to fabricating large portions of his résumé.
Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres asked Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House GOP caucus chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Congressional Leadership Fund President Dan Conston in a letter Sunday to “proactively and forthrightly cooperate with all current and future investigations into Mr. Santos, including the House Committee on Ethics investigation that Speaker McCarthy confirmed this week.”
“In addition, we urge you to inform the American people about your prior knowledge of Mr. Santos’ web of deceit so that the public understands whether and to what extent you were complicit in Mr. Santos’ fraud on his voters.”
The letter cites a recent New York Times report detailing GOP leaders’ knowledge of Santos’ false claims prior to the November midterm elections.
The report elaborated “on the extent to which each of you had at least some foreknowledge of Mr. Santos’ lies,” Goldman and Torres wrote. “Unfortunately, even now, after eight other Republican members of Congress have called for Mr. Santos’ resignation, you have refused to make any public comments on Mr. Santos’ fraudulent candidature, nor have you shared with the public your understanding of Mr. Santos’ blatant deception and lies prior to the election.”
The Times’ reporting has not been independently verified by NBC News.
According to the Democratic lawmakers, Stefanik remained one of Santos’ top supporters during his campaign, and one of her top aides assisted his campaign even after many staffers were reported to have quit following the “vulnerability study.”
“It is one thing for a candidate like Mr. Santos to persuade voters to vote for him on the basis of a web of lies,” Goldman and Torres wrote. “However, it is quite another if top levels of Republican leadership were aware of Mr. Santos’ lies during the campaign and chose to be complicit.”
Goldman and Torres filed a complaint last week, requesting that the House Ethics Committee investigate Santos’ financial disclosure reports and alleging that he violated the Ethics in Government Act with his “sparse and perplexing” reports. He failed to file “timely disclosure reports” for his most recent campaign, and his public statements “contradicted some information” in his 2022 financial disclosure, according to them.
House Republicans have increased their calls for Santos to resign in the last week, after state GOP leaders and lawmakers in New York said he should step down. McCarthy, who leads the GOP’s slim House majority, has not joined the calls.
“He has a long way to go to earn trust, but one thing I know is that you apply the Constitution equally to all Americans,” McCarthy told reporters on Thursday. “He was elected by his district’s voters. He has taken a seat. He belongs to the Republican Conference. He has some reservations, so he will appear before Ethics. If anything is found to be wrong, he will be held accountable in the same way that any other member of this body would be.”
Santos has maintained his position. He stated on Thursday, “If 142 people ask me to resign, I will resign.” He later clarified that he was referring to the more than 142,000 people who voted for him in New York’s 3rd Congressional District in November. Santos stated that he would remain in Congress “until those 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me.”