I asked a neighbor of mine who had a Santos sign on his property what he thought. George Santos was elected my congressman, having beaten the Democratic nominee, Robert Zimmerman, pretty handily, replacing Tommy Suozzi as our representative. Why, I asked. He wasn’t the Democrat, was the answer my neighbor gave me. But did you know anything about Santos, who he was, what he stood for? “Nah. Who cared? He wasn’t the Democrat.”
As it turned out, George Santos wasn’t a lot of things.
Long Island Rep.-elect George Santos came clean to The Post on Monday, admitting that he lied on the campaign trail about his education and work experience — but insisting that the controversy won’t deter him from serving out his two-year term in Congress.
“I am not a criminal,” Santos said at one point during his exclusive interview. “This [controversy] will not deter me from having good legislative success. I will be effective. I will be good.”
Santos’s professional biography was called into question earlier this month after the New York Times reported that he misrepresented a number of claims, including where he attended college and his alleged employment history with high-profile Wall Street firms.
“My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry,” Santos said on Monday.
But the lies about his work history just scratch the surface. The New York Times first broke the story that pretty much nothing about his education, work, wealth, religion or gender orientation was true. Santos has now pretty much admitted that it was all lies, though he tries to get squishy about some of it to make himself seem like more of a pathetic liar than a venal liar.
He also admitted that he never graduated from any college, despite previously claiming to have received a degree from Baruch in 2010.
“I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume,” he said. “I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”
As Sarah Rumpf on twitter put it, trying to cut your own bangs is a stupid thing. Fabricating your resume goes a bit deeper. My personal fav was his reply to being outed as not Jewish.
“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Santos said. “I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was `Jew-ish.’”
One might give some serious thought as to how his opponent, Zimmerman, or the party that nominated him, failed to find out and broadcast any of this to the voters, that the Republican nominee for Congress was a lying sack of shit about pretty much every single thing he claimed about himself. A Dem researcher explained that they don’t do serious opposition research. Seems legit. Of course, the question remains whether it would have mattered, since it doesn’t appear that anyone voted for George Santos, but only against Biden. If Santos were merely a made-up person, he still would have won.
The question now is what to do about a problem like George Santos. The time to vet a candidate for lies is before you elect him, not afterward. There is no such thing as a recall election for Congress. It seems unlikely that Congress could refuse to seat him under Powell v. McCormack, and his lies preceded his service in Congress so as not to provide a basis to expel him. Dan Goldman, House lawyer during a Trump impeachment and now a representative-elect in his own right, posed the likelihood of criminal prosecution.
If allegations are true (and Santos has not even denied them), there are at least two possible federal crimes at play:
1) conspiracy to defraud the US (same as Mueller with Russians in 16 and Trump in 20), and:
2) filing false statements to FEC.
@ should investigate.
That would present an interesting scenario, prosecuting politicians for lies made during the course of campaigning for office. That would prove a bit dicey for many in Congress. One would expect that Santos can’t do much harm in Congress, being only one 435, probably voting party line and (one would hope) unlikely to be re-elected in two years.
And what do the Republicans have to say about Santos being their nominee?
“While I have indicated that the congressman-elect deserves a reasonable amount of time to respond to the media, voters deserve a sincere accounting from Mr. Santos,” said Nassau County Republican Committee Chairman Joseph Cairo. “I will be listening attentively, and I want to hear meaningful remarks from George Santos.”
So that means nothing. Until such time as he’s sent back to live in his sister’s basement, he will be the elected representative of New York District 3 and a reminder that it would behoove us to be a bit more skeptical about whom we send to D.C. as our representative, no matter whom we’re voting against.