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Two New York Democrats file Ethics Committee complaint against George Santos

George Santos faces ethics complaint
George Santos faces ethics complaint from House Democrats 00:27

Washington — A pair of New York Democratic lawmakers are filing a formal complaint with the House Ethics Committee against GOP Rep. George Santos on Tuesday, alleging he violated federal ethics law.

The two lawmakers, Reps. Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman, requested the House panel investigate whether Santos, also from New York, broke the Ethics in Government Act by failing to file "timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports." They hand-delivered their ethics complaint to Santos' office.

Torres and Goldman alleged Santos's financial disclosure reports for 2020 and 2022 are "sparse and perplexing," and claim the Republican's public statements "have contradicted some information included in the 2022 financial disclosure and confirmed that the 2022 financial disclosure failed to disclose other information."

"Given the revelations about his biography, as well as the public information pertaining to his financial disclosures, Mr. Santos has failed to uphold the integrity expected of members of the House of Representatives," the two Democrats wrote to Reps. Michael Guest, a Republican, and Susan Wild, a Democrat, who lead the committee.

Goldman was Democrats' lead counsel during former President Donald Trump's first impeachment proceedings.

"George Santos, by his own admission, is an outright fraud. The House has an obligation to police itself and maintain the integrity of the institution," he tweeted, adding that the complaint to the Ethics Committee is the "first step" to holding Santos accountable. 

Torres accused Santos of "defrauding both Congress and the public."

Asked about the complaint from Torres and Goldman, Santos told reporters "they're free to do whatever they want" and said he has "done nothing unethical."

Santos, who was sworn into office early Saturday morning, is under scrutiny and facing calls to resign after he admitted to "embellishing" portions of his background during his successful bid for Congress, including his education and professional background. 

Federal and local prosecutors are examining the New York Republican's finances and financial disclosures, as well as the falsehoods he peddled on the campaign trail, and whether he complied with the law.

Santos is also the target of a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday accusing him of illegally using campaign funds for personal expenses and providing false information about the source of his campaign donations and expenses. The complaint was filed by the Campaign Legal Center and questions whether $705,000 in contributions to his campaign improperly came from a corporation or foreign national.

In addition to Goldman and Torres, GOP Rep. Nick LaLota of New York said last month that Santos should be investigated by the House Ethics panel and potentially law enforcement.

Republican leaders have remained relatively quiet about Santos and his future within the conference given the allegations against him, though Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters Tuesday that the matter is "being handled internally," and GOP leaders should meet with Santos and talk with him.

"Obviously, there were concerns about what we had heard," Scalise said.

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