(The Center Square) — The House Ethics Committee says it will announce the results of its investigation into embattled New York Congressman George Santos with an expulsion vote looming.
In a statement, Reps. Michael Guest, R-Miss. and Susan Wild, D-Pa. — who oversee a subcommittee created by the Ethics panel to investigate claims Santos may have engaged in “unlawful activity” during his 2022 congressional campaign — said they plan to issue a ruling in the case by Nov. 17.
The statement said the panel has contacted about 40 witnesses, reviewed more than 170,000 pages of documents and authorized 37 subpoenas as part of the investigation, which was launched in March.
“The committee’s nonpartisan staff and the ISC [Investigative Subcommittee] members have put countless hours into this investigation, which has been a priority for the investigative team and involved a significant amount of the committee’s resources,” the lawmakers said.
The panel has also probed allegations that Santos failed to properly disclose required information on financial statements filed with the House, violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services, and engaged in sexual misconduct in his congressional office.
The Ethics Committee can take any number of actions if it determines Santos violated any rules, from issuing a letter of reprimand to recommending censure or — in the extreme — expulsion from office. That has only happened a handful of times in Congress’ history and would require a two-thirds vote in the House to approve.
The move comes as a group of New York lawmakers, led by Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, push to expel Santos from the House of Representatives following his indictment on Tuesday in federal court on 23 counts of fraud, including money laundering and identity theft.
Federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York allege that Santos and his former campaign treasurer, Nancy Marks, submitted false financial reports to the Federal Election Commission, inflating his fundraising numbers.
The criminal complaint alleges that Santos stole the identities of family members and engaged in credit card fraud targeting campaign contributors, saying it was “to fraudulently inflate his campaign coffers.”
The indictment also alleges that Santos received more than $24,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while still employed at a private investment firm.
A previous indictment filed in May against Santos charged him with embezzling money from his campaign and lying to Congress about his income, among other allegations.
Santos also faces a Federal Elections Commission complaint filed by the Washington, D.C.-based Campaign Legal Center, which alleges Santos and his campaign engaged in a “straw donor scheme” to conceal the sources of a $705,000 personal loan to his campaign.
The freshman congressman, who defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman in New York’s 3rd Congressional District in the midterm elections, has admitted to faking his resume and lying about his educational background but claims he hasn’t broken the law or crossed any ethical lines.
He has refused to resign even as members of his party have called him to step down. In April, he filed paperwork to run for reelection.