Long Island prosecutors have launched an investigation into U.S. Rep.-elect George Santos of New York, after revelations surfaced that the now-embattled Republican lied about his heritage, education and professional pedigree as he campaigned for office.
But despite intensifying doubt about his fitness to hold federal office, Santos has thus far shown no signs of stepping aside — even as he has publicly admitted to a long list of fabrications.
“The numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning,” said Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly, a Republican.
“The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress,” she said. “No one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”
Santos’ campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday.
He was scheduled to be sworn in next Tuesday, when the U.S. House reconvenes. If he assumes office, he could have face investigations by the House Committee on Ethics and the Justice Department.
The New York attorney general’s office has already said it is looking into some of the issues that have come to light.
The Republican has admitted to lying about having Jewish ancestry, a Wall Street pedigree and a college degree, but he has yet to address other lingering questions — including the source of what appears to be a quickly amassed fortune despite recent financial problems, including evictions and owing thousands in back rent.
Some fellow Republicans had called for Congress and law enforcement to launch inquiries.
Fellow Long Island Republican, Rep.-elect Nick Lalota said he was troubled by the revelations.
“I believe a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, law enforcement, is required,” Lalota said Tuesday.
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A spokesperson for the Nassau County DA’s office, Brendan Brosh, said Wednesday: “We are looking into the matter.”
Other Republicans castigated Santos for his dishonesty but stopped short of asking him to step aside.
“Congressman-Elect George Santos has broken the public trust by making serious misstatements regarding his background, experience and education, among other issues,” said Joseph G. Cairo, chair of the Nassau County Republican Committee, which lies within the 3rd Congressional District.
Cairo said he “expected more than just a blanket apology,” adding that “the damage that his lies have caused to many people, especially those who have been impacted by the Holocaust, are profound.”
Questions intensified after The New York Times examined the narrative Santos, 34, presented to voters during his successful campaign for a congressional district that straddles the north shore suburbs of Long Island and a sliver of Queens.
The Times uncovered records in Brazil that show Santos was the subject of a criminal investigation there in 2008 over allegations that he used stolen checks to buy items at an clothing shop in the city of Niteroi. At the time, Santos would have been 19. The Times quoted local prosecutors as saying the case was dormant because Santos had never appeared in court.
Santos continued to deny that he was being sought by authorities in South America.