Rep. George Santos (R-Nassau/Queens) has recused himself from his two House committee assignments while investigations of him are ongoing, he announced at a meeting Tuesday morning.
House majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had assigned Santos to the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Small Business Committee. Santos released a statement through his communications director explaining his decision to step down from the committees, saying that “the business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare.”
“This was a decision that I take very seriously,” Santos said. ““I want to personally thank Speaker McCarthy for meeting with me to discuss the matter and allowing me to take time to properly clear my name before returning to my committees. To my constituents, I remain committed to serving the district, and delivering results for both New York’s Third Congressional District and for the American people.”
Serious questions about Santos’ finances are currently being reviewed by Nassau County, New York State, and federal investigators. Two of Santos’ fellow congressmen have also filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee, asking that it investigate his campaign funds, but it is unclear whether the committee will do so. And a complaint about Santos has also been filed with the Federal Elections Commission.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) and Rep. Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) released a joint statement regarding Santos’ decision to leave the committees, calling it “a classic case of someone quitting right before they were going to get fired.”
“While we, and the overwhelming percentage of Long Islanders we represent, are relieved to see that Santos will not be undeservedly sitting on committees, he should still do the right thing and resign,” the congressmen said. “That is what is in the best interest of his constituents and House Republicans.”
Both Republicans and Democrats have called on Santos to resign, but he has refused to step down. This is the first concession of any kind he has made since the Dec. 19 New York Times article unveiled a laundry list of lies he’s told and raised questions about how he funded his campaign.
“George Santos is a fraudster who should never have been seated on the committees he’s now recusing himself from in the first place — something I’ve heard from small business owners and community leaders across NY-03,” said Casey Sabella, a grassroots organizer and Santos constituent. “Santos’ egregious misconduct requires immediate action by House Republicans. For the good of our district and the integrity of our democracy, Speaker McCarthy and House Republicans must vote to expel Santos.”