GOP Rep. George Santos, N.Y., had dismissed calls to resign from his campaign staff after a routine background check revealed he fabricated parts of his background.
Santos’ staff had hired an opposition research firm in late 2021 to conduct a “vulnerability study” on him, which found no evidence of the then-candidate’s purported degrees from Baruch College and New York University, according to The New York Times.
The firm also found records of his evictions, a suspended Florida driver’s license, his involvement with a company accused of a Ponzi scheme and that Santos had been married to a woman despite claiming to be gay.
The findings prompted some members of Santos’ staff to demand he drop out of his congressional race, warning that he could otherwise be humiliated.
But Santos dismissed the background check results and decided to stay in the race, resulting in resignations from most of his campaign team. He then hired new campaign staff members by the spring of last year.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which works to elect Democrats to the House, compiled 87 pages of opposition research on Santos ahead of his race against Democrat Robert Zimmerman that discovered some of the findings the research firm found.
The DCCC found evidence of his evictions, a pet charity associated with him that was not registered with the IRS, his connections to the alleged Ponzi scheme and discrepancies in his financial disclosure forms.
Yet, despite Zimmerman’s campaign having access to the DCCC report on Santos, the Democrat decided not to spend campaign funds on additional research into Santos’ background. Instead, Zimmerman’s campaign hit Santos over his views on abortion and the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot.
Santos ended up defeating Zimmerman in the election in November and a month later, The New York Times published a report detailing Santos’ lies.
During an interview with the New York Post, he subsequently admitted to fabricating his work and education history. He also acknowledged that he lied about owning 13 properties and that he had been married to a woman prior to his first congressional campaign in 2020, although he says he is now a happily married gay man.
Some Republican and Democratic members of Congress have called for Santos to resign over his fabrications. New York State Republicans have also urged the freshman lawmaker to step down.
He is expected to be investigated by the House Ethics Committee and is currently being looked into at the local, state and federal level in connection to the funding of his House campaign.
And Brazilian authorities reopened an investigation into Santos over allegations of check fraud in connection with a 2008 incident tied to a stolen checkbook.
Santos said that he would resign this week if the 142,000 people who voted for him asked him to do so.