Santos will be removed if Ethics panel says he broke the law: McCarthy
US Republican George Santos faces two possible fates depending on the House Ethics Committee's decision.
US Speaker Kevin McCarthy said on Tuesday that Republican George Santos would be removed from office if the House Ethics Committee finds that the scandalous congressman broke the law.
This is considered McCarthy's most extensive comment on potential punishments Santos could face during the mounting controversies and accusations against him. “If for some way when we go through Ethics and he has broken the law, then we will remove him,” McCarthy told reporters during a press conference just outside his office.
“The American public in his district voted for him. He has a responsibility to uphold what they voted for, to work and have their voice here, but at any time, if it rises to a legal level, we will deal with it then,” he added.
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Earlier this month, Democratic Reps. Ritchie Torres and Daniel Goldman filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee, requesting that the panel investigate Santos for failing to file timely, accurate, and complete financial disclosure reports. The congressman's finances have come under intense scrutiny, with allegations that he violated campaign finance laws.
However, it is unclear whether the Ethics Committee is investigating the complaint. McCarthy named Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.) as chairman of the panel on Monday, but he has yet to name other members. Earlier this month, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) nominated five Democrats to the committee.
The Ethics Committee is known for keeping its investigations private. Santos is also being investigated by prosecutors in New York, and is the subject of an investigation in Brazil.
Santos, who represents a portion of Long Island, has been the subject of intense scrutiny following revelations that he fabricated parts of his biography and questions about his finances. The New York Republican has admitted to falsifying his resume but insists on remaining in Congress, claiming that his constituents sent him to Washington to serve.
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Democratic Reps. Joaquin Castro of Texas and Ted Lieu of California called, among others, for the resignation of Santos saying that if he refuses, the House should expel him.
When asked if he is only supporting Santos because losing him in Congress would cost Republicans a seat, McCarthy deferred to voters in New York's 3rd Congressional District on Tuesday.
“No,” McCarthy responded to the question. “You know why I’m standing by him? Because his constituents voted for him.”
“I do not have the power simply because if I disagreed with somebody or what they have said that I remove them from elected office. Now I will hold him to the same standard I hold anyone else elected to Congress,” he added.