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Highly controversial freshman Congressman New York Rep. George Santos was arrested after surrendering Wednesday morning. Santos faces 13 charges including money laundering and fraud charges.
“George Santos devised and executed a scheme to defraud supporters of his candidacy for the House and to obtain money from them by fraudulently inducing supporters to contribute funds,” the federal indictment says.
Santos was elected as a U.S. Representative for New York’s Third Congressional District in November 2022, and immediately faced criticism as information about his true past came out. Santos lied about his job experience, education achievements, lifestyle, and business acumen during his campaign.
“My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry,” Santos told the New York Post in December 2022, after he was elected.
Calls for his expulsion from Congress came from both Democrats and Republicans, with Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT) telling him during the State of the Union address “you don’t belong here.”
“This indictment seeks to hold Santos accountable for various alleged fraudulent schemes and brazen misrepresentations,” said U.S. Attorney Breon Peace.
“Taken together, the allegations in the indictment charge Santos with relying on repeated dishonesty and deception to ascend to the halls of Congress and enrich himself.”
On Wednesday after learning about the charges, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) said that he wouldn’t demand that Santos resign, and instead said “if a person is indicted, they’re not on committees. They have the right to vote, but they have to go to trial.”
The caucus vice chairman, Rep. Ted Lieu of California, said that if the speaker put forward a bill to expel Santos, it would have his vote, according to CNN.
“The Republican member of Congress purportedly known as George Santos is entitled to the presumption of innocence, just like anyone else in America in a criminal court of law. The House is not a criminal court of law. The House has its own rules — the House can choose to expel a member. [California Rep.] Robert Garcia has put forward a bill to do that. If Speaker McCarthy would put that bill on the floor, I would vote yes,” he said.