Friday, March 31, 2023

Rep. George Santos Recuses Himself from Committee Assignments

Rep. George Santos of New York said he would excuse himself from his committee assignments amid multiple investigations into his finances and other issues.

“With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared,” Santos said in a statement.

Santos has admitted to lying about his background and has faced numerous calls to resign from Congress. He was assigned seats on the Small Business and Science committees and told reporters that he is not considering leaving office.

Santos, however, has not gone far enough in Reps’ eyes. Nick LaLota and Anthony D’Esposito, two fellow Republicans representing congressional districts on Long Island.

“This is a classic case of someone quitting right before they were going to get fired,” they said in a joint statement. “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. That is what is in the best interest of his constituents and House Republicans.”

In a poll released from Newsday and Siena College, 78% of voters in Santos’ district said they believe he should resign from Congress. Asked whether Santos should step down, House GOP Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York said the “process will play itself out” in the next election.

Santos is under investigation by the Nassau County district attorney and federal prosecutors in New York. Law enforcement sources have said federal authorities are examining his finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters that Santo’s recuse himself from his committee assignments was “the appropriate decision.”

Santos told reporters Tuesday that McCarthy didn’t request the recusal. “Nobody tells me to do anything. I made a decision on my own,” he said.

Members of both parties have expressed concerns about Santos’ having access to classified information through his work committees. At the same time, all lawmakers can periodically sit in on classified briefings such as those provided by administration officials.

McCarthy said that while he stands by Santos, he will be removed from office if the House Ethics Committee finds he broke the law.

NBC News