Rep. George Santos said Thursday he would not seek re-election after the House Ethics Committee found evidence that he engaged in fraud.
The committee’s report said it found “substantial evidence” that Santos, R-N.Y., knowingly caused his campaign to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission, used campaign funds for personal purposes and willfully violated the Ethics in Government Act related to his House Financial Disclosure Statements, among other offenses.
It did not recommend sanctions against Santos but did recommend the evidence should be referred to the Department of Justice and that his conduct “warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office and has brought severe discredit upon the House.”
The committee found that Santos used fraud to exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for personal profit, blatantly stole money from his campaign, deceived donors and more while sustaining it all with constant lying.
The committee added that, “Santos was a knowing and active participant in the wrongdoing.”
“At nearly every opportunity, he placed his desire for private gain above his duty to uphold the Constitution, federal law and ethical principles,” the report stated. “Santos sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
In a post on social media announcing his decision to not seek a return to office on Thursday, Santos called the report “a disgusting politicized smear” as he said he would “remain steadfast in fighting for my rights and for defending my name in the face of adversity.”
“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,” he said.
The House Ethics Committee said in March its members had unanimously voted to launch an investigation into Santos for alleged unlawful activity in his 2022 congressional campaign.
Santos was elected to a Long Island, New York House seat vacated by Democrat Tom Suozzi.
Santos pleaded not guilty in October to 23 federal charges including wire fraud, making false statements, identity theft, falsifying records as well as access device fraud allegedly committed as part of a credit card scheme that repeatedly charged campaign contributors.