The embattled New York Congressman, who has been caught in numerous lies and the subject of at least one criminal investigation, says he’s running for a second term in 2024.
It was a situation unlike anything in the history of American politics: Rep. George Santos, after he was elected to Congress from New York without incident, was caught in a series of embarrassing lies. And not only that, but Santos’ lies touched numerous third rails in American politics.
He falsely claimed that he worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, and also lied about having Jewish heritage, about his real estate holdings, about his mother dying on 9/11, and even about his name. He lied both about graduating from college and playing on the volleyball team at Baruch College. The openly gay Santos, meanwhile, also turned out to have been married to a woman at one point. And there was potential criminal exposure, from a fraud case going back to his time living in Brazil, to possible campaign finance violations.
There remain many unanswered questions about Santos, starting with how, exactly, he obtained his wealth.
Santos apologized for some things, and not others, and was sworn into Congress as scheduled, or would have been had the speaker of the House contest not been extended by a week. This set off a second set of controversies, about how Democratic opponents somehow failed to notice that web of lies by the candidate who defeated them, in a blue state no less.
Since then, Santos has continued to serve in Congress mostly without incident, aside from when Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) called him an “embarrassment” before the State of the Union address in February.
But now, Santos has announced that he’s running for a second term.
“Since the Left is pushing radical agendas, the economy is struggling, and Washington is incapable of solving anything, we need a fighter who knows the district and can serve the people fearlessly, and independent of local or national party influence,” Santos said in a statement Monday, per The Hill.
What could stop Santos from getting re-elected? Several things.
First of all, while Republicans in Congressional leadership have not pushed for Santos to resign, that doesn’t mean they will back him for re-election. Meanwhile, potential opponents are lining up to take on Santos, including Dan Rosenthal, a New York state assemblyman based in his district. Nassau Republican Party Chair Joe Cairo said earlier this year that he would not support Santos running again.
“The political reality is Santos will not only have the Democratic Party lined up against him, in what is shaping up to be a good Democratic year, but he will also have his own party against him – one that is particularly powerful when it comes to special elections and primaries,” Levy, executive dean of suburban studies at Hofstra University, told City and State New York.
Of course, there is another thing that could get Santos out of office, even earlier than scheduled: A criminal prosecution.
Santos is facing multiple criminal investigations, as well as an ethics probe, related to his lies. Lying to win an election is not a crime, but if Santos ever committed financial malfeasance, lied on any type of official document, or perjured himself, he is likely facing big trouble.
“The F.B.I., federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, and the Nassau County district attorney’s office are now all investigating Mr. Santos’s campaign finances and how Mr. Santos operated his business, the Devolder Organization, about which he has disclosed little information,” the New York Times reported.”
In addition, the House Ethics Committee is conducting a separate investigation of Santos. The committee announced in March that it was looking into “whether Representative George Santos may have: engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.