It is the case of the odd elected member of parliament.
Voters elected Republican George Santos in November to represent parts of Long Island and Queens in Congress, but they didn’t know the candidate was running with a resume full of obviously fabricated claims about his school and work — leaving more questions than answers on how to navigate now. a planned move to Washington.
And now even some allies of Santos are calling on the politician to come forward and either verify or explain the misleading aspects of the biography he was running.
“We have contacted his office directly to ascertain whether they are true. These allegations, if true, are deeply troubling,” said Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, which has featured Santos at events and videos alongside the party. top leaders, including former President Donald Trump and Florida Gov. Ron DeSandis.
Brooks said in a statement to CBS News that the organization is concerned about the allegations. “Given their seriousness, the MP-elect owes the public an explanation and we look forward to hearing it.”
Repeated attempts by CBS News to reach Santos directly by phone were unsuccessful. His campaign manager referred CBS to a general email address for the campaign. In a statement, Santos’ attorney Joseph Murray accused the New York Times of “attempted defamation [Santos’] good name with defamatory claims,” but provided no evidence or documents to refute any of the reports.
The New York Times broke the news this week that Santos may have made false claims about his past. CBS News followed up on several of them, including his claims that he had worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. A spokesman for Goldman Sachs told CBS News that the firm has no record of his employment. And a Citigroup spokesperson told CBS News that the company could not confirm Santos’ employment.
An earlier version of Santos’ campaign website said, “George Anthony began working at Citigroup as an associate and quickly advanced to become an associate asset manager in the firm’s real assets division,” and in the next paragraph stated that “George Anthony was then offered an exciting opportunity with Goldman Sachs, but what he thought would be the pinnacle of his career was not as rewarding as he expected.” No bank is currently listed on his website.
There are also questions about Santos’ educational history. His campaign website still says, “George graduated from Baruch College with a degree in economics and finance.” But a spokesperson from Baruch College told CBS News that no record of his involvement has been found. And the Internal Revenue Service could find no public records for Friends of Pets United, a tax-exempt animal rescue charity Santos claimed to have founded. The animal rescue also appeared on an earlier version of his site but has been removed.
Santos helped Republicans win a narrow majority in the midterm elections, flipping a Democratic seat, a district that includes parts of Queens and Long Island. During the campaign. The North Shore Leader, a Long Island news website, has raised questions about its finances.
Democrat Robert Zimmerman, who lost to Santos in November, told CBS News his campaign had raised some of the issues during the contest. “But it is a very important reminder of the urgent need to be vigilant about our public servants and put aside partisanship and ensure that we always put integrity first in the selection of our public officials,” he said.
“It’s not about whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Zimmerman said. “We can certainly have our political differences, but we should all be able to feel confident in respecting the integrity of our public officials. George Santos has violated that trust. He has demonstrated that he is not a public official with or without any integrity and does not belong to a public office”.
Local Democrats called on Santos to resign. “If you’ve seen Inventing Anna on Netflix, this is Inventing George Santos,” Nassau County Legislator Joshua Lafazan said at a protest Tuesday.
The chairman of the Nassau County Republican Party called the charges “serious.”
Joseph Cairo Jr. said Santos “deserves an opportunity to address the allegations detailed in the article, which have been repeated by other news sources. Every person deserves an opportunity to ‘clear’ his or her name in the face of the allegations. I am committed to that principle, and I look forward to the Congressman-elect’s responses to the news releases.”
Republican leaders on Capitol Hill have been silent. On Monday, Santos tweeted his support for McCarthy’s bid to become speaker, saying, “We have the opportunity of a lifetime to deliver real results for the American people. We MUST give the hammer to @kevinomcarthy to make sure we stop the destructive policies Democrats have been pushing for the past 2 years.” But the link in that tweet now says the page “no longer exists.”
McCarthy is at the helm of a narrow Republican majority and has little room for error in rallying support from his congress.
Ethics monitors are also monitoring developments. Susan Lerner, executive director of Common Cause New York, called on Santos to resign. Lerner told CBS News she had never seen such an example. “This is really, really shocking,” Lerner said. “There have been cases where candidates have exaggerated their background … they haven’t seen anyone who has made up a completely fake life story.”
It is unclear whether House GOP leadership will urge any action. “There are always charlatans who will try to trick the system. And the question is really, can the system be protected? And that’s what we’ll see,” Lerner said. “Can Congress set standards for who is a proper member of the House of Representatives or not?”