The House Ethics Committee released its long-awaited investigative report into New York representative George Santos on Thursday. The document puts forward “substantial evidence,” showing that the congressman engaged in a “complex web” of criminal activity, knowingly breaking campaign finance laws.
The committee, under the leadership of Chairman Michael Guest, has voted unanimously to adopt the report. In effect, the “substantial evidence of potential violations of federal criminal law” had been sent to the Department of Justice, which will determine what the next steps in the Santos case look like.
The substantial evidence uncovered by the ISC, which also led to an unanimous conclusion, tells of how Santos “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; engaged in fraudulent conduct in connection with RedStone Strategies LLC; and engaged in knowing and willful violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to his Financial Disclosure (FD) Statements filed with the House.”
The report illustrates how Santos spent the money he solicited from donors — thousands of dollars to purchase OnlyFans subscriptions (a porn influencer site), makeup at Sephora, Botox and $4,127.80 worth of Hermes. To be fair, the report does specify that some of the spending, like the cosmetic procedures, “could not be verified as having a campaign nexus.” The spending on porn, makeup, clothes, meals and parking, though, was tied to a $50,000 deposit to the congressman’s personal account — money that came from political contributors.
Santos who has in the past vehemently denied accusations leveled against him, most notably following the twenty-three-count indictment that preceded this report, is doubling down on his denial.
“If there was a single ounce of ETHICS in the ‘Ethics committee,’ they would have not released this biased report. The committee went to extraordinary lengths to smear myself and my legal team about me not being forthcoming (My legal bills suggest otherwise),” Santos said in a lengthy X post. “It is a disgusting politicized smear that shows the depths of how low our federal government has sunk. Everyone who participated in this grave miscarriage of Justice should all be ashamed of themselves.”
In the post, Santos also announced that he will not move forward with his re-election campaign, saying that his “family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.” And in another post, Santos shut down communication with the press. “I’m going to dedicate my free time to my family whom I have neglected during this process,” the congressman shared. “I wish you all well, but I am done! The communication door is closed, shut and sealed.”