In the report sent to the Justice Department, the committee claimed to have “overwhelming evidence” of lawbreaking by Santos. It concluded that the Republican “cannot be trusted” after a monthslong investigation into his conduct.
The lawmaker pushed back on the report in a social media post, calling into question the “ethics” that the members of the “Ethics committee” actually have, calling the report biased.
“The Committee went to extraordinary lengths to smear myself and my legal team about me not being forthcoming (My legal bills suggest otherwise),” Santos said.
Despite his anger and the so-called “smear” against him, Santos said he will remain steadfast in defending himself as well as working to serve the American people who elected him as best he can.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed,” Santos said. “I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”
The panel said that Santos knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission; used campaign funds for personal purposes; and engaged in violations of the Ethics in Government Act as it relates to financial disclosure statements filed with the House.
Santos has maintained his innocence and has refused to resign despite calls from many of his colleagues to do so.
The report says that an investigative subcommittee decided to forgo bringing formal charges because it would have resulted in a “lengthy trial-like public adjudication and sanctions hearing” that only would have given Santos “further opportunity to delay any accountability.” The committee decided instead to send the full report to the House.
It urges House members “to take any action they deem appropriate and necessary” based on the report.
The findings by the investigative panel may be the least of Santos’ worries. The congressman faces a 23-count federal indictment that alleges he stole the identities of campaign donors and then used their credit cards to make tens of thousands of dollars in unauthorized charges. Federal prosecutors say Santos, who has pleaded not guilty, wired some of the money to his personal bank account and used the rest to pad his campaign coffers.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Author: Devan Markham