Bloomberg — New York Republican George Santos, who has admitted making up much of his resume, is set to be sworn in as a member of the House Tuesday, an added element of drama to GOP turmoil as the party takes control of the chamber.
Santos would be stepping into a Republican caucus that on its first day in power is already consumed by an intra-party power struggle that is endangering House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker.
Republicans will have only a narrow majority and a handful of conservative holdouts are so far refusing to back McCarthy on Tuesday. Santos has previously said he supported McCarthy and his vote for seaker could be crucial.
McCarthy has so far been silent about if he plans to discipline Santos, despite other Republicans calling for action against him.
Santos’ fabrications became public after he was elected and federal and local officials have since opened investigations into the discrepancies and questions about his finances, including those of his campaign.
He has admitted making up much of his resume, including that he graduated from college and worked for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup.
Democrats have demanded that Santos, a Long Island Republican elected in November, resign or be expelled for making up numerous stories about his life to ingratiate himself with voters, but his ultimate fate rests in the hands of the House GOP leadership.
In the past, lawmakers facing investigations have been suspended from committee or leadership posts, but were still allowed to vote on legislation.
Others have resigned under pressure from their party’s leadership over ethics questions, though Santos has indicated he intends to serve out his two-year term. Only five members of Congress have been expelled in US history: three lawmakers for fighting for the Confederacy and two following criminal convictions. Under the Constitution, such a move requires a two-thirds vote of those present.
Unless Santos himself bows to political pressure and decides not take his seat, there is little McCarthy and fellow Republicans could do to block him from being sworn in. Under a Supreme Court precedent, ethics-related challenges generally must wait until after he becomes a member.
If Santos were to leave office, that would set up a special election in his typically Democratic New York district, potentially costing Republicans a seat and narrowing their already-slim majority.
Outside of Congress, Santos, 34, faces an investigation by Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, a Republican who said last week she would prosecute him if she believes he committed a crime.
“The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning,” Donnelly said in a statement. “The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress.
Some Democrats also are calling for full investigations by the Federal Elections Commission and the Justice Department.
His lies first came to light in a Times report. He addressed them last week in an interview with the New York Post in which he apologized for misrepresentations but insisted that he would still take office as representative of the state’s 3rd Congressional District.
Santos’ problems have only grown as his background is examined. The New York Times reported Monday that Brazilian prosecutors want to revive charges against him of using a stolen checkbook.
His lawyer, Joe Murray, said late Monday he was “in the process of engaging local counsel to address this alleged complaint against my client.”
Read more on Bloomberg.com