When members of the House voted earlier this month on whether Republican Rep. George Santos should remain in office, Rep. Jeff Jackson, a Charlotte Democrat, was among those who voted to keep him.
But on Thursday, Jackson and his colleagues received an ethics report on Santos.
“Rep. Santos has received his due process,” Jackson said in a written statement. “This report is fully damning. I will vote to expel him.”
After the first vote, Jackson wrote in a campaign email Santos hadn’t been convicted of a crime, and a formal ethics report against the New York Republican hadn’t been released. Jackson said voting out Santos would set a precedent of allowing members to be expelled before due process played out.
Jackson’s promise to vote for expelling Santos comes after the House Ethics Committee’s report accused Santos of filing false or incomplete campaign finance reports, using campaign funds for personal use, engaging in fraudulent conduct and violating the Ethics in Government Act. Rep. Deborah Ross, a Democrat from Wake County is part of that committee.
“The report released by the House Ethics Committee today is the result of a careful, thorough, bipartisan investigation,” Ross said in a written statement. “Without a doubt, it conclusively demonstrates Rep. George Santos is unfit to serve in this body. I will vote to expel him from the U.S. House of Representatives when a resolution comes to the floor for a vote.”
Santos House Ethics Committee report
The House committee began investigating four particulars about Santos:
whether he acted criminally in regard to his 2022 congressional campaign;
whether he failed to properly disclose required information House statements;
whether he violated federal conflict of interest laws;
whether he engaged in sexual misconduct toward a potential employee.
Santos, who’s serving his first term, began his congressional tenure in the midst of scandal. Reports surfaced that he made up most of his biography that helped lead to his campaign successes.
An appendix to the ethics’ report includes details about how Santos allegedly “lied about his degrees, his religion, his work experiences, his family.”
The report indicates Santos’ campaign staff became so concerned about how often he lied that they asked him to seek help. It also states staff concerns about how campaign funds were being used and reported.
The Ethics Committee report accuses Santos of funneling money from his campaign, to a company he owned and then to his personal bank account. From there he would use the money to pay off credit cards, purchase Botox and items from Hermes, OnlyFans and Sephora, among many other things. He is also accused of using his campaign funds for personal vacations, the report alleges.
The report further accuses Santos of falsely reporting or failing to properly disclose nearly $800,000 during two campaigns. It further accuses Santos of reimburse himself for the falsified loans through campaign donations.
“He reported fictitious loans to his political committees to induce donors and party committees to make further contributions to his campaign – and then diverted more campaign money to himself as purported ‘repayments’ of those fictitious loans,” the report states.
Santos is charged with 23 felonies in New York, including wire fraud, money laundering and aggravated identify theft, also involving his campaign money.
“Representative Santos’ conduct warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office and has brought severe discredit upon the House,” the Ethics committee said in a news release.
Santos defended himself Thursday calling the report “biased.”
“It is a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk,” Santos wrote on social media. “Everyone who participated in this grave miscarriage of Justice should all be ashamed of themselves.”
Santos also announced he would not seek reelection.
North Carolina reaction
The House on Nov. 1 first voted on whether to expel Santos.
At the time, Ross and Rep. Don Davis, a Democrat from Snow Hill, voted present, which means they were at the vote but didn’t take a stance. Seventeen others took the same vote.
And 22 representatives, including Greg Murphy, a Republican from Greenville, did not vote at all.
Otherwise, North Carolina’s Republicans voted in favor of keeping Santos. Democratic members from NC, besides Jackson, voted to expel him.
The vote failed 179-213. But it was always understood the vote would come up again once the Ethics Committee released its findings,
Immediately after the report was released Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi, said he planned to file Friday a new resolution for expulsion, as did two Democrats.
Murphy told Politico’s Olivia Beavers he will vote to oust Santos.
“Given their findings of the facts of this case, I find his behavior reprehensible, and not worthy of a member of Congress,” Murphy told Beavers.
The Ethics Committee also announced it referred the investigation to the Department of Justice saying they found “substantial evidence” of potential violations of federal criminal law.