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Did George Santos lie about everything?

The biography of newly elected Congressman George Santos looked quite impressive. The 34-year-old son of immigrants graduated from Baruch College, a public college in New York, before going to work at companies such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Santos eventually became a successful financier who started an animal rescue charity. The problem is that the biography was apparently a lie. As revealed in the New York Times On Monday, it wasn’t just that Santos exaggerated his resume, he allegedly made it up out of the blue.

The Times found that he apparently did not graduate from Baruch College, did not work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, there were no records of him as a successful financier, nor were there records of his rescue charity of animals. The Times also discovered that he had been charged with check fraud in Brazil.

Also, a number of outlets have found no evidence of Santos’ repeated claims that he is a Jew, has Jewish ancestry, or is descended from refugees fleeing the Holocaust.

Santos has not directly denied any of the allegations. Instead, in a statement on Monday, which also included a quote wrongly attributed to Winston Churchill, his lawyer said: “It’s no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at the New York Times who are trying to tarnish his good name.” with these defamatory allegations.” On Thursday, Santos followed up on Twitterpromising “To the people of #NY03 I have my story to tell and it will be told next week.”

The story sparked one of the most bizarre political scandals in American history. Members of Congress have committed murder At the office. In fact, a member of Congress he even killed another member of Congress. Even in the present day, we’ve seen every scandal under the sun, from Anthony Weiner tweeting a lewd photo of himself, to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s infamous Facebook post about Jewish space lasers. But it’s hard to think of a precedent for a scandal like this.

Who is Giorgio Santos?

There are a few things we know about Santos. The openly gay son of Brazilian immigrants, he was elected in November to an open seat in Congress that includes a thin slice of Queens and much of Long Island’s North Shore in Nassau County. Santos beaten Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a margin of 54% to 46%. This represented a major change from 2020, when Biden had won the district by the same margin. Santos that year ran against Tom Suozzi held office in a similar district and lost easily by a 56% to 43.5% margin.

The representative-elect is also a big supporter of Trump, so much so that he was at Trump’s Ellipse rally on Jan. 6, 2021 and repeatedly falsely claimed that the former president won the 2020 election.

Also, for all his alleged lies on his resume, it’s clear that a company Santos worked for, Harbor City Capital, has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of being a Ponzi scheme. As for Santos’ other job, he he spent some time as a Portuguese-language customer service agent for DISH Network ten years ago.

What don’t we know?

We don’t know much. This ranges from basic facts about Santos’ biography to details about his dealings with the Brazilian criminal justice system and everything in between, including where he actually lives.

Most importantly, we don’t know where Santos’ money came from. The Representative-elect lent his campaign $700,000 during the 2022 cycle and claimed income of $750,000. He also listed assets worth millions of dollars, including an apartment in Rio De Janeiro worth a million dollars and a seven-figure savings account. It’s a big change of luck for someone who has been evicted twice, in 2015 and 2017, for non-payment of rent and had been taken to court for failing to pay debts. Even in 2020, he reported income in only one category – compensation greater than $5,000 paid from one source – with no other assets.

What happens now?

Dan Goldman, a fellow New York elected representative and former prosecutor, has suggested that Santos faces a criminal investigation into conspiracy to defraud the United States and file false statements with the Federal Election Commission.

In an interview with Vox, Goldman avoided considering whether Santos should be denied his seat in Congress. “I think the bigger question isn’t whether I think George Santos should be a member of Congress. The bigger question is whether Kevin McCarthy and the Republican leadership think George Santos should be a congressman.”

However, as of right now, McCarthy needs Santos almost as much as Santos needs McCarthy. The Republican leader is facing an uprising among far-right Republicans opposed to his nomination as Speaker of the House in January. With the slim GOP majority incoming, it means McCarthy can risk only a handful of defections for a position that requires a majority vote in the entire House. Just before the Times story was published, Santos endorsed McCarthy on Twitter.

Furthermore, since Santos represents one of the most Democratic seats in Congress held by a Republican, forcing him to resign under any circumstances is risky. It would be a tough seat for a Republican to hold in a special election, and a loss would further jeopardize an already slim GOP majority.

Meanwhile, it’s all about waiting for the next shoe to drop. New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office is already “looking into some of the issues that have come to light.” As unsustainable as the current status quo may seem, the only impetus for Santos’ resignation right now would be a sense of shame, and he seems unlikely to carry that burden.

Update, December 23rd, 10:20am: This story originally ran on December 21, and has been updated as more details about Santos’ background have been reported.

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New York Representative-elect George Santos speaks during the annual leadership meeting of the Jewish Republican coalition in Las Vegas, Nevada November 19. David Becker/Washington Post via Getty Images