Federal Charges Force Response From N.Y. Rep Santos

Republican Rep. George Santos faced 13 counts of criminal wrongdoing Tuesday after surrendering to federal authorities at a Long Island courthouse.

U.S. Attorney Breon Peace said that the indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and blatant misrepresentations.

Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself, Peace said.

Prosecutors say the freshman lawmaker devised and executed a scheme to defraud donors to his 2022 political campaign. Santos allegedly claimed the money would fuel his bid for office, but instead spent the cash on luxury designer clothes, making car payments, and paying personal credit card bills.

Santos is also accused of fraudulently applying for unemployment benefits in 2020 while employed and running for Congress.

At the height of the pandemic in 2020, George Santos allegedly applied for and received unemployment benefits while he was employed and running for Congress, Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly said in a statement.

The scandal has caused a political headache for Republicans, especially in New York, where GOP candidates face tough reelection fights next year.

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that he wouldnt demand Santos resignation, comparing the case to those of Democratic lawmakers who remained in office while their cases played out.

If a person is indicted, theyre not on committees, they have the right to vote, but they have to go to trial, McCarthy said.

Santos has become a pariah among many GOP leaders in New York, especially on Long Island, and the influential Nassau County Republican Committee has called for his resignation.

However, Santos has remained defiant and at times even seemed to revel in the media attention. On May 6, he posted a photo of a fortune cookie that readLife is more fun when youre the underdog competing against the giants.

In addition to the federal case, separate probes are also underway by the Nassau County district attorney and the House Ethics Committee.

So far, Santos has not commented on the charges and phone calls to his congressional offices and attorney have gone unanswered.

It remains unclear where the mysterious $700,000 gift he made to his own election effort came from.

The fate of Santos congressional career hangs in the balance as he awaits trial.


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