Republican Congressman-elect George Santos has yet to attempt to refute allegations that he fabricated much of his resume as calls for his resignation and an investigation continue to grow.
Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan (I-Woodbury) says he has submitted a letter to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York that requests a federal investigation into Santos’ finances and campaign activity, which were called into question in a New York Times investigation published Monday. Lafazan has also requested that the House Ethics Committee conduct an investigation.
“Yesterday I joined with civic leaders from across District 3 in calling on Mr. Santos to answer for his past fraudulent behavior, and to immediately resign,” Lafazan said. “However in the 24 hours since, Mr. Santos has chosen not to refute one single allegation. He has remained silent, shielded by his lawyer, and hiding from the public. In fact, nobody can answer this one simple question: Where is Mr. Santos?”
Santos’ lawyer, Joseph Murray, released a statement Monday that did not directly address any of the specific questions raised by the article, including whether or not he lied about graduating from Baruch College, attending NYU, working at Wall Street firms Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, and owning real estate properties, as well as other uncertain facts about how he procured his wealth.
“After four years in the public eye, and on the verge of being sworn in as a member of the Republican led 118th Congress, the New York Times launches this shotgun blast of attacks,” Santos’ attorney said. “It is no surprise that [Santos] has enemies at the New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”
Santos won the seat in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which covers North Shore Nassau County and parts of Queens, in the November election against Democrat Robert Zimmerman, who says the Times story is “not a shock.” He and Nassau Democratic Committee Chair Jay Jacobs are calling for Santos’ resignation and a federal investigation.
“My campaign has been calling out George Santos’ scams and lies about himself for several months. We’ve worked to raise many of these issues,” Zimmerman said in a statement. “Local news organizations like Newsday, The Leader, and many others have documented Santos’ shady financial dealings and his shifting personal story. This only underscores the critical work of local and investigative press in holding those seeking power accountable.
“Santos’ failure to answer any of the questions about these allegations demonstrates why he is unfit for public office and should resign,” Zimmerman added.
Joseph Cairo, chairman of the Nassau Republican Committee, said in a statement that he will give Santos an opportunity to respond to the accusations but did not say when that might be.
“While issues that have been raised in [the Times article] are serious, I believe that George Santos deserves an opportunity to address the claims detailed in the article, which have been repeated by other news sources,” Cairo said. “Every person deserves an opportunity to clear his/her name in the face of accusations. I am committed to this principle, and I look forward to the Congressman-elect’s response to the news reports.”
On the campaign trail, Santos claimed to have graduated with bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Baruch College followed by a financial career at Wall Street firms that included Citigroup and Goldman Sachs. However, the Times reported that Baruch College has no record of his supposed 2010 graduation, and Citigroup and Goldman Sachs told the Times they have no record of his employment. Also, while the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) website claims he attended NYU, that institution also has no records for him, the Times reported.
“A New York Times review of public documents and court filings from the United States and Brazil, as well as various attempts to verify claims that Mr. Santos, 34, made on the campaign trail, calls into question key parts of the résumé that he sold to voters,” the article says. Santos is openly gay and the son of Brazilian immigrants.
The Times investigation found no records of Friends of Pets United, an animal rescue organization that Santos claims to have founded in 2013, as a tax-exempt charity through the Internal Revenue Service (I.R.S.). In addition, the Times reported that while Santos claims to have a family fortune of tens of millions of dollars from the family’s real estate company, investigative reporters could not locate any of the properties.