The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that its members had voted unanimously to launch an investigation into Rep. George Santos (pictured at the State of the Union address last month), who has admitted to lying about his background while campaigning for office. File Photo by Jacquelyn Martin/UPI | License Photo
March 2 (UPI) -- The House Ethics Committee announced Thursday that its members had voted unanimously to launch an investigation into Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., who has admitted to lying about his background while campaigning for office.
"The Investigative Subcommittee shall have jurisdiction to determine whether Rep. George Santos may have engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign," the news release reads.
The lawmakers will also investigate whether Santos "failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House" and "violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services."
The committee has tapped Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, to chair the investigative subcommittee. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., will serve as the subcommittee's ranking member, according to the release. Reps. John Rutherford, R-Fla., and Glenn Ivey, D-Md., will also serve on the panel.
Santos will also be investigated to determine whether he "engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office."
In a statement, Santos' office said he "is fully cooperating" with the investigation and that "there will be no further comment made at this time."
The decision to launch the investigation came after a group of House Democratic lawmakers last month proposed a resolution to expel Santos and referred it to the House Ethics Committee.
The lower chamber is controlled by Republican lawmakers who have defended Santos' right to keep his seat in Congress despite having been caught lying about his credentials.
Santos was elected to office during the November midterms, when he picked up a seat vacated by Democrat Tom Suozzi on Long Island.
However, Santos told voters during his campaign that he graduated from Baruch College and worked with Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, statements which have been proven false following investigations by The New York Times after a local newspaper raised red flags four months earlier.
Santos also has faced concerns about his campaign finances after filings revealed that he lent his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars despite having reported an income of just $55,000 in 2020 and has been accused of sexually harassing a volunteer in his office.
If members of the investigative subcommittee determine the need for disciplinary action, Santos could face being expelled from Congress. In order to be expelled, more than two-thirds of lawmakers in the lower chamber would need to vote for his removal from office.
Santos also currently faces investigations by the FBI, as well as the New York Attorney General's Office and the district attorney's office for Nassau County on Long Island, The Hill reported.
Meanwhile, the lawmaker introduced his first bill on Tuesday, named the SALT Relief Act. Santos has proposed amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the limitation on the deduction for state and local taxes.
"Long Island residents specifically in Nassau County are paying some of the highest property taxes in the country," Santos said in a statement.
"In 2018 for Nassau County, the average SALT amount (property tax liability income or sales tax liability) reported among itemizing filers was $30,227.21, but due to the $10,000 cap, the average SALT deduction claimed was $9,023.79."