By Ryan Ryu ’25
Since the New York Times revealed that George Santos was not quite the man he sold himself as to voters, it’s been hard to track down exactly what is true about the incoming representative’s life story. Is he broke or rich? Is he Jewish or Catholic? Did his family members really die in the Holocaust or on September 11? As recent events have shown us, it’s best to assume what the Republican from Long Island has said about his life is bogus.
But first, who is George Santos? Santos, the son of Brazilian immigrants, flipped a House seat for the GOP in November to represent parts of Long Island and Queens, helping the party capture a narrow majority in the lower chamber. The seat was then vacated by the outgoing Rep. Tom Suozzi (D). Santos and his Democratic opponent Robert Zimmerman made headlines during their midterm face-off as the first time in U.S. history that two openly gay candidates went head-to-head in a federal general election.
The breadth of 34-year-old Santos’ lies, which brought him to the center of the news media, is pretty impressive, from claiming he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup to having Jewish grandparents that fled Europe during World War II. The entire scandal has rocked members of the media, who have been left scratching their heads at how these pretty significant lies went unearthed throughout Santos’ campaign.
Rep. George Santos began his third week as a congressman with many questions still swirling around his personal and campaign finances. He ended the week with even more unanswered questions – after his campaign submitted a raft of changes to federal election regulators, including appearing to install a new campaign treasurer without that person’s permission.
“I can’t think of another example (of a campaign) that has presented such a wide variety of legal concerns,” said Erin Chlopak to CNN, senior director of campaign finance at the watchdog group Campaign Legal Center and a former lawyer with the Federal Election Commission. “I feel like the George Santos saga is like a campaign finance law school course, all in one.”
Santos, who faces multiple investigations about his finances and lies about his biography and resume, repeatedly refused to respond to reporters’ inquiries about his filings and finances this week – saying at one point that he does not “touch” FEC reports. Leaving his office Friday morning on Capitol Hill, Santos told a reporter that he would publish a news conference “soon” to “address everything.”
The current major investigation questions are i) The mystery of the treasurer, ii) The big question about the six-figure loan for his campaign not from the candidate’s funds, iii) questions about the dozens of expenses his campaign has reported at exactly $199.99, one cent below the threshold at which the campaign is required to retain receipts.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy on Tuesday said that if Santos is found to have broken the law, “we will remove him,” though he didn’t clarify what that removal would involve. The nation has its eyes on George Santos and Congress. Santos roughly starts off his term, hence the next several weeks will deeply examine his credibility and liability as to serve this nation as congressman.