Investigations and complaints facing Jorge Santos could bring heavy fines

Embattled New York representative. George Santos He insists he will finish his term and has indicated that it is the choice of his constituents to re-elect or oust him. Despite mounting controversy An examination of his past lies, his finances and investigations in the US and Brazil.

Santos told the New York Post Last month he said he was not a “criminal”, saying “I’ll be effective. I’ll be fine”.

But the various investigations and complaints he faces could have serious consequences — including expulsion.

Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that if Santos is found to have violated the law, “we will remove him,” though he did not clarify what that removal would entail.


MembersBoth parties There have been calls for Santos to resign, but the congressman says he has no intention of leaving.

He is likely to resign Political changes for McCarthyHe has a majority of only five seats.

If Santos leaves office, New York Gov. Cathy Hochul will have discretion over when to hold a special election to replace him — one is not automatically appointed — and his 3rd Congressional District is up for grabs, making it impossible for a Republican to win. T is guaranteed.

Criminal charges

Santos told The New York Post in December, “I am not a criminal… not here or in Brazil or in any jurisdiction in the world.”

Within days of Santos telling the Post, ABC News and other outlets reported that Brazilian prosecutors They tried to revive the check fraud charges Against Santos from the age of 19.

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A spokeswoman for the Rio de Janeiro prosecutor’s office said prosecutors intend to prosecute Santos on two charges, including theft and check fraud, each count carrying up to five years in prison. However, an official at the prosecutor’s office told ABC News that the punishment would be a fine if convicted.

Jan. U.S. Rep. George Santos, Republican of New York, looks on as the House of Representatives continues its vote on a new speaker at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on May 5, 2023.

Mandal Nagan/AFP via Getty Images

According to an earlier ABC News report, Santos is being investigated by the New York attorney general, federal prosecutors in New York and the Nassau and Queens County district attorney’s offices.

“No one is above the law, and if a crime is committed in this county, we will prosecute it,” Nassau County District Attorney Anne Donnelly, a Republican, said in a statement.

Speaker McCarthy told reporters Tuesday that Santos deserves the benefit of the doubt.

“I believe in the rule of law. A person is innocent until proven guilty,” he said.

Ethical action

Earlier this month, New York representatives. Don Goldman and Richie Torres, both Democrats; He filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee ABC News called for an investigation into Santos’ financial disclosures, according to documents previously obtained.

If a majority of the committee determines that Santos has done something wrong, they can file a recommendation to the full council for one or more punishments, including: expulsion, censure, reprimand, fine, denial of various responsibilities or any other approval by the committee as appropriate.

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The Constitution gives each chamber of Congress the power to remove a sitting member who has engaged in “disorderly conduct.”

A two-thirds vote is required for expulsion from the House. With the current House composition of 222 Republicans and 212 Democrats, a third of GOP members would need to vote with Democrats to oust Santos.

Evictions are rare: The last time a representative was expelled was in 2002 when James Traficant Jr. of Ohio was ousted. Traficant was convicted of conspiracy to commit bribery, defrauding the United States, receiving illegal benefits, obstruction of justice, filing false tax returns and wire fraud. House Archives.

ABC News’ Aicha El Hammar Castano contributed to this report.

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