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Nassau County lawmaker proposes "G.E.O.R.G.E" legislation in wake of Santos controversy

Amid George Santos controversy, L.I. voters calling for new law
Amid George Santos controversy, L.I. voters calling for new law 02:28

NEW YORK -- There were calls Wednesday for new laws to bar candidates from misrepresenting themselves. 

It's an effort by voters in the 3rd Congressional District to prevent another George Santos from seeking office. 

This comes as there are questions about his finances and background. 

A proposed law that would make it a crime in Nassau to run for office under false pretenses, called the G.E.O.R.G.E. package - Get Egregious Officials Removed from Government Elections. It would include mandatory background checks and other safeguards,  including barring anyone with foreign arrest warrants and makes lying about a candidates background a crime. 

"Something insane but something necessary in the wake of George Santos," said Nassau Legislator Josh Lafazan. 

"We didn't elect him. We elected who we thought he was," one person said. 

"Every day, more things he's lied about. Cheated. This guy has got to go," said another. 

Instead, Santos is going about the business of Congress, voting on bills, including one - ironically - to deemphasize education in the federal hiring process. 

He made light of the scrutiny he's under. 

"You know the one thing about this job I love? It's the human interaction. You can't replicate that," Santos said. 

Yet constituents say they're having a hard time getting routine answers from his office. 

"It's very frightening because we can't get any services," said constituent Sheila Harmon. 

A former campaign intern has gone public, claiming Santos instructed him to lie. 

Lies may not get him expelled from Congress, but a criminal charge could. His latest campaign filing raises new questions about the source of his $700,000 personal campaign loan, suddenly not listed as a personal loan. 

A campaign watchdog group says where the money came from must be answered. 

"Rather than Santos made millions of dollars overnight in a business - he can't explain that, has no clients. What seems more likely is that Santos engaged in a scheme to funnel secret, illegal contributions to his campaign," said Brendan Fisher, a campaign finance expert with Documented. 

"You know, that every campaign hires fiduciaries, so I don't have that answer. I'll have that snwer for you," Santos said. 

Some Republicans in Congress insist he has the right to his seat, for now. 

"If something criminal comes out, that will change the conversation. Right now, it's legally required for him to be sat, and it's between him and his constituents," said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis. 

Hence, the almost daily new tactics by constituents, who say they will not stand for an imposter in their congressional seat, asking the speaker, what more do you have to see? 

Advocates say they will attempt to make the so-called "GEORGE" law requiring candidate background checks applicable to state and national campaigns, too. 

Speaker Kevin McCarthy reportedly told House Republicans in Wednesday's closed-door conference meeting that Santos will continue to serve on two committess, but would lose those assignments if he is charged with a crime. 

"You know why I'm standing by him? Because his constituents voted for him," McCarthy said.

However, polls continue to show most of his voters think he should resign. Some of them are now trying new tactics to get rid of him. 

In an open letter to McCarthy, they wrote, "We are not going to sit by and let you take away our constitutional right to representation." They're now asking voters nationwide to reach out to their members of Congress. 

"We didn't elect him. We elected the person he created," said Susan Naftol, with Concerned Citizens of NY-03. 

Experts say don't hold your breath for a quick Federal Election Commission investigation, even though dozens of Santos' campaign expenses fall one cent below the threshold for a receipt. 

"They have a history of taking a long time. You have a civil investigation that could drag on for years," Dan Weiner, director of elections and government for NYU Brennan Center, said. 

Freshman Congressman Nick Lalota, of Suffolk County, offered to take the lead in helping officials freeze Santos' campaign funds and return them to duped donors. 

"Those financial victims of his crimes and lies need a chance to be made whole," said Lalota. 

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