“I’ve been a terrible liar, ” Congressman George Santos (R, NY-03) said in a recent interview. This isn’t what you want to hear from a member of Congress. Right?
Congressman Santos was elected based on lies and deception, which have continued to be uncovered over the past few months. During his campaign, Santos claimed to have been a volleyball star at Baruch College – yet there is no record of him attending the school to begin with.1Azi Paybarah, “George Santos Lied about Being a Volleyball ‘Star,’ County GOP Chair Says,” The Washington Post, January 11, 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/11/santos-lies-volleyball/. Santos’ resume, obtained and published by The New York Times, gives more information about the Congressman’s supposed education: Santos claims to have graduated summa cum laude from Baruch College in 2010 with a 3.89 GPA and in the top 1% of his class.2“Résumé of George Santos,” The New York Times, January 11, 2023, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2023/01/11/us/resume-of-george-santos.html. However, Santos has provided no evidence to support his claims about his education, and Baruch College denied having any record matching Santos.3Jimmy Vielkind, “Incoming Republican Rep. George Santos Faces Scrutiny over Claiming He Worked at Goldman, Citi,” MarketWatch, December 22, 2022, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/incoming-republican-rep-george-santos-faces-scrutiny-over-claiming-he-worked-at-goldman-citi-11671732176.
Congressman Santos also lied on the campaign trail and in his resume about his past work experience. Santos claims to have worked as an Asset Manager Associate for Citi Group and a Project Manager for Goldman Sachs.4“Résumé of George Santos.” Representatives of both companies said they had no records of Santos working for their respective companies.5Vielkind, “Incoming Republican Rep. George Santos Faces Scrutiny over Claiming He Worked at Goldman, Citi.” These supposed jobs likely gave Santos’ voters a false sense of security that he was experienced and qualified enough to serve in Congress. “George Santos’s campaign last year was a campaign of deceit, lies, and fabrication,” said Nassau County Republican Chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr.6Paybarah, “George Santos Lied about Being a Volleyball ‘Star,’ County GOP Chair Says.”
Santos, a man lacking a factual education and work record, is now a Congressman; his lies only begin with his resume. He claimed that his mother died during the horrific 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, but this has not been corroborated, either.7James Bickerton, “George Santos Confronted about Lies in Car Crash Piers Morgan Interview,” Newsweek, February 22, 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/george-santos-confronted-about-lies-car-crash-piers-morgan-interview-1782623. His lies have also crossed other lines, especially regarding Anti-Semitism. Santos said he was Jewish – many times – as “a joke,” finding his lie funny in this case. Anti-Semitism and other forms of hate and prejudice have no place in America, especially in Congress. Santos later admitted to Piers Morgan during a talk show interview that he is, in fact, not Jewish. In that same interview, Santos told Morgan, “I’ll humor you this – I ran in 2020 for the same exact seat for Congress, and I got away with it then.”8Bess Levin, “George Santos Says He Only Pretended to Be Jewish as ‘a Joke,’” Vanity Fair, February 21, 2023, https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2023/02/george-santos-jewish-for-the-jokes.
Santos does not belong in Congress. A pathological liar has no place serving in one of the most esteemed positions in the American government. However, Santos also has many legal and ethical issues that further complicate his story.
Congressman Santos has struggled to comply with campaign finance laws. He has multiple complaints from the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) over his congressional campaign’s finances.9Rachel Looker, “Rep. George Santos Says He ‘Got Away’ with Lies before, Was Surprised to Get Caught This Time,” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, February 22, 2023, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2023/02/21/george-santos-liar-flawed-congress-reelection-morgan/11312253002/. Santos’ campaign supposedly gave many multi-thousand dollar donations, yet the money does not appear on his campaign’s financial disclosures. For example, the Santos campaign allegedly sent $2,000 to Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters’ campaign, but the address listed on the financial disclosure for Masters’ campaign was in Florida and non-existent. Masters’ campaign confirmed that they never received the donation. The Campaign Legal Center, a legal advocacy group, recently filed an FEC complaint for Santos’ “troubling pattern” of “irregularities.”10Jessica Piper, “George Santos Reported Spreading Campaign Cash to Other Republicans. The Money Never Showed up,” POLITICO, Accessed March 13, 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/02/22/george-santos-campaign-spending-00083886.
In addition to campaign finance laws, Congressman Santos has struggled to comply with laws – in multiple countries. Santos stole money from a veteran who was raising money for his dying dog, claimed to start a (non-existent) animal charity, and used faulty checks when purchasing puppies.11Paul Blest, “Here Are All of George Santos’s Many Legal Problems (That We Know About),” VICE, February 21, 2023, https://www.vice.com/en/article/v7v5d8/george-santos-lies-legal-issues. Additionally, he is under investigation in Brazil for a fraud scheme. According to sworn testimony from Brazilian Gustavo Ribeiro Trelha, who was arrested at Pike Place Market in 2017, Santos was “in charge of” a scheme to install skimmers, illegal devices attached to ATMs that can steal customers’ private banking information, across Seattle, Washington.12Graham Kates and Pat Milton, “Secret Service Has Declaration of Brazilian ATM Thief Who Reportedly Says George Santos ‘in Charge’ of Skimming Operation,” CBS News, CBS Interactive, March 10, 2023, https://www.cbsnews.com/news/george-santos-accused-by-brazilian-atm-thief-of-being-mastermind-of-skimming-scheme/.
Santos clearly does not belong in Congress, but his colleagues have accepted him in the House Republican Conference. Fewer than 10 Republican representatives have called on Santos to resign.13Prem Thakker and Tori Otten, “Alex Jones and Tucker Carlson Texted Each Other Conspiracy Theories throughout the Pandemic,” The New Republic, March 13, 2023, https://newrepublic.com/post/169980/alex-jones-tucker-carlson-covid-conspiracy-theory-texts. “This [lying] was about getting accepted by the [Republican] party” rather than “tricking the people,” said Santos. Santos suggests that this type of lying and deceit is accepted in the House Republican Conference, and some of his colleagues’ behaviors corroborate that idea.14Bickerton, “George Santos Confronted about Lies in Car Crash Piers Morgan Interview.”
During her congressional campaign, Congresswoman Anna Paulina Luna (R, FL-13) alleged a “home invasion” and an impoverished childhood, yet her family and friends denied these claims. Congressman Andy Ogles (R, TN-05) claimed to be “an economist, a nationally recognized expert in tax policy and health care, a trained police officer, even an expert in international sex crimes,” yet none of those titles are true for him.15James Downie, “Trump Inspired the House GOP’s New Class of Would-Be Cons,” MSNBC, NBCUniversal News Group, February 23, 2023. https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/msnbc-opinion/third-gop-freshman-accused-fake-resume-blame-trump-rcna71801.
This can not be acceptable behavior for American elected officials. Congress must remain a place where the truth is honored and respected; the American government is no place for individuals like Santos. So, there is a clear and straightforward message to him and others like him in Congress: resign now.
Cover Image: “Official Portrait of Rep. George Santos” is in the Public Domain as a work of the United States Federal Government