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Congressman-elect George Santos talks to a voter while campaigning
Congressman-elect George Santos talks to a voter while campaigning in Glen Cove, N.Y. on Nov. 5, 2022.Mary Altaffer / AP file

On multiple fronts, George Santos’ troubles are intensifying

Legally and politically, Rep.-elect George Santos' scandal has gone from bad to worse very quickly.


Rep.-elect George Santos’ timing could’ve been better. Had his prolific lying come to public attention during a busier time in the news, the New York Republican might’ve faced less attention and scrutiny. Instead, the controversy snowballed between Christmas and New Year’s Eve — when much of the political world had little to do except focus on his stunning scandal.

There were plenty of developments to absorb, the most serious of which were the apparent criminal investigations into the GOP politician’s many deceptions. NBC News reported:

Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into Rep.-elect George Santos, two law enforcement sources confirmed Thursday. ... The investigation is said to be in its very early stages, and it has not zeroed in on any one allegation of wrongdoing yet. The two sources confirmed that prosecutors are examining Santos’ finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign as he was running for Congress.

Making matters slightly worse for him, federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York aren’t the only ones taking a closer look at Santos: There’s also a separate investigation from the Nassau County district attorney’s office. WABC in New York, meanwhile, reported that the Queens District Attorney’s office is also reviewing whether Santos committed any crimes.

The New York attorney general’s office has also taken an interest in his scandal, suggesting the congressman-elect is facing as many as four ongoing investigations.

Investigators will likely be busy: The New York Times took a closer look at Santos’ campaign filings and found “a litany of unusual disbursements,” including “dozens of expenses pegged at $199.99 — one cent below the threshold at which federal law requires receipts.”

And while all of this suggests that Santos will need to hire some capable defense attorneys, the investigations are not his only problem.

When the controversy first broke, it became clear that the Republican lied about his education, his private-sector experience, and his faith tradition. Santos grudgingly conceded that he deceived the public, though he used words like “embellishments” instead of “lies.” In recent days, however, the list of falsehoods has grown in stunning ways.

For example, Santos appears to have also lied about when his mother died. And about what high school he attended. And about his experience with Covid. And about being half Black.

No wonder Santos’ press secretary quit.

In August 2021, the then-candidate published a tweet that accused President Joe Biden of being “a pathological liar.” The missive was unfortunate at the time, but it’s far worse now.

None of this has escaped the attention of GOP officials, some of whom have expressed public discomfort with Santos’ breathtaking dishonesty. Republican Rep. Pete Sessions, for example, said last week that he’s “not supportive of him being in our conference at all.” The Texan added, “You cannot come into our conference as a known liar.”

Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, ahead of his retirement, added yesterday that Santos “is going to have to consider resigning.”

On Long Island, meanwhile, Nassau County GOP Chairman Joe Cairo released a written statement late last week that read in part, “This Republican committee will not support George Santos in 2024.”

Politico reported that Santos has privately told local party leaders that he won’t seek a second term in 2024. That might help his political position a bit, though a larger question hangs overhead: Why would they believe him?