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GOP's George Santos faces another round of difficult questions

Rep.-elect George Santos was already facing questions about allegedly fictional claims in his personal biography. The list of questions is still growing.

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If it were the plot to a novel, it’d be dismissed as excessively unrealistic, but Rep.-elect George Santos appears to have made up a personal biography that really is almost entirely fictional. The New York Times broke this story in brutal fashion this week, noting that the incoming Republican congressman appears to have lied about his educational background, his private-sector experience, and even his non-profit experience.

The New Yorker eventually issued a statement responding to the allegations, which didn’t actually deny the apparent fact that he effectively made up much of his biography.

As the political world started considering the implications of the suspected fraud, one of the lingering questions dealt less with dishonesty and more with finance: Santos appears to have become very wealthy very quickly, and it’s not at all clear how.

But over the last 24 hours, new allegations of biographical lies have come to the fore. The Forward reported yesterday:

Congressman-elect George Santos’ emotional narrative of having Jewish grandparents who fled Europe during World War II appears to be untrue, like much of the rest of his campaign biography, according to genealogy websites reviewed by the Forward.

The Republican’s campaign website specifically told voters, “George’s grandparents fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.” The Forward’s research suggests this, like so many of Santos’ other claims, isn’t true.

What’s more, while Santos described himself during the campaign as a “Latino Jew,” The Forward’s article added, “[I]t appears Santos is not Jewish — and lied about his family fleeing persecution during the war.”

But this isn’t the only new set of questions the incoming congressman is facing. Santos this year also became the first openly gay Republican to win a House seat as a non-incumbent. It’s against this backdrop that The Daily Beast reported this morning on Santos’ previously unacknowledged Sept. 2019 divorce from a woman:

It’s entirely possible that Santos, who claims he has “never experienced discrimination in the Republican Party,” has been living comfortably as an openly gay man for, as he says, more than a decade. People get married for countless reasons. But Santos’ situation is curious because he never disclosed his divorce to voters, and never reconciled his prior marriage to a woman — which ended just 12 days before he established his first congressional campaign — with his claims of being an out and proud gay Republican.

As much interest as there’s been this week in Santos’ past, there’s also uncertainty about his future. There’s been quite a bit of talk about a possible ethics investigation, and Democratic Rep.-elect Dan Goldman, a New Yorker and a former prosecutor, has suggested that Santos face a criminal investigation.

Semafor reported this week, however, that House GOP leaders appear likely to give Santos a pass, in part because their majority is so small and they don’t have any votes to spare, and in part because if Santos were forced out, a Democrat might win the seat in a special election.