US House panel refers more ‘unlawful conduct’ by Santos to Justice Dept -statement By Reuters

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© Reuters. U.S. Rep. George Santos (R-NY) speaks to members of the media after his Congressional colleagues voted not to expel him from the House, after he was indicted on 23 federal corruption charges, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. November 1, 2023. REUTERS/J

By Moira Warburton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House Ethics Committee has found “additional uncharged and unlawful conduct” by Republican Representative George Santos and has referred the matter to the Justice Department, the panel said in a statement on Thursday.

Santos, a first-term lawmaker from the New York area has already pleaded not guilty to a 23-count federal indictment accusing him of an array of corruption, including 10 felony counts that federal prosecutors added in October.

“Representative Santos’ conduct warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House” of Representatives, the bipartisan committee said in a statement.

Santos’ office did not immediately return a request for comment. A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to comment.

Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, a Republican, intended to file a motion to expel on Friday, according to media reports.

The committee’s report found that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit,” adding that “despite his attempts to blame others for much of the misconduct, Representative Santos was a knowing and active participant in the wrongdoing.”

The report also said Santos declined to file a written statement in his own defense or testify under oath and refused to provide documents requested by the committee.

“Representative Santos’ repeated public statements that he would like to prove his innocence and is cooperating with the ISC’s (Investigative Subcommittee) investigation are belied by his consistent failure to meaningfully cooperate with the ISC’s review,” the report said.

The Ethics Committee has been investigating him for months, having contacted “approximately 40 witnesses, reviewed more than 170,000 pages of documents, and authorized 37 subpoenas,” according to a statement released on Oct. 31.

Santos survived a vote to expel him from the House brought by fellow House Republicans from New York state in early November.

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