Rep. George Santos says he won’t serve on House committees while investigations are ongoing
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a meeting of the House Republican Conference at the Capitol Hill Club on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
Tom Williams | Cq-roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
Embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York will not serve on the two House committees to which he was recently assigned until the investigations into his conduct have concluded, his office said Tuesday.
“The congressman is reserving his seats on his assigned committees until he has been properly cleared of both campaign and personal financial investigations,” said his spokeswoman, Naysa Woomer.
Santos informed Republican lawmakers during a closed-door conference meeting in Washington, D.C., earlier Tuesday that “he’s not accepting the committee assignments until things get cleared up,” according to a longtime GOP lawmaker who was in the room. This person declined to be named to discuss private conversations.
It was not immediately clear whether Santos made the decision of his own accord, or if he was influenced or directed to revoke his committee assignments by other members of his conference. Spokesmen for House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., did not immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
Santos was appointed earlier this month to posts on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee and the Small Business Committee. The GOP Steering Committee, led by McCarthy, made those assignments over howls of bipartisan criticism against Santos and calls for his resignation.
The 34-year-old freshman lawmaker has faced intensifying scrutiny since shortly after he won his congressional race, after a bombshell New York Times investigation called into question many of Santos’ claims about his personal and professional life, as well as the sources of his campaign funds.
Days before he was sworn in to the 118th Congress, Santos admitted fabricating key details about his biography and apologized for “embellishing” his resume, though he denied all other wrongdoing.
But Santos is now reportedly under investigation at the local, state, federal and international levels, and he has mostly avoided answering the throngs of reporters barraging him with questions about his many unsubstantiated claims.
Santos has repeatedly vowed to serve out his full two-year term in office, arguing that the voters of his Long Island-area district should have the final say on whether he stays or goes. McCarthy, who leads a slim and unruly GOP House majority and has few votes to spare, has echoed Santos’ line and defended the decision to give him committee assignments.
That stance clashes with Republican leaders from around Santos’ own district, who have denounced the scandal-plagued congressman and urged him to resign.
And the voters in Santos’ district aren’t keen on keeping him around, either, according to a new poll released Tuesday morning.
An overwhelming 78% of registered voters in New York’s 3rd Congressional District — including 71% of Republican respondents — say Santos should resign, the survey from Newsday/Siena College found. More than four-out-of-five respondents viewed Santos unfavorably, according to the poll.
Notably, 71% of the respondents said it was wrong for McCarthy to seat Santos on multiple committees.
The pollster surveyed 653 voters from Santos’ district between Jan. 23 and last Thursday. The poll has an overall margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
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