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Rep. George Santos files paperwork indicating he may seek reelection

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 3/14/2023 Azi Paybarah
Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) filed paperwork for his reelection, though he has not said if he will attempt to defend his seat in 2024. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) filed paperwork for his reelection, though he has not said if he will attempt to defend his seat in 2024. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.), the embattled freshman facing multiple investigations for his false claims and possible campaign finance violations, filed paperwork Tuesday indicating that he intends to seek reelection.

By filing the paperwork, known as a statement of candidacy, with the Federal Election Commission, Santos can raise money for a prospective campaign. The funds also could be used to pay back the $700,000 he lent to his 2022 campaign and for legal fees connected to the investigations he is facing.

The filing indicates Santos could run for reelection in New York’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes parts of Queens and Nassau counties, but it isn’t a guarantee the lawmaker will seek another term.

A spokesperson in Santos’s congressional office said they cannot comment on campaign matters. The congressman has not publicly stated whether he will run for reelection.

The filing comes as the House Ethics Committee, along with several state and federal investigators, are looking into the freshman lawmaker, who has been dogged by allegations of theft and financial wrongdoing in addition to fabricating much of his supposed education and professional background.

House Ethics Committee launches investigation of Santos

In the clearest sign to date that federal prosecutors are examining Santos’s campaign finances, the Justice Department asked the FEC to hold off on any enforcement action against Santos as prosecutors conduct a parallel criminal probe, according to two people familiar with the request, The Post reported in late January.

The Justice Department request also asked that the FEC provide any relevant documents, according to the knowledgeable people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the matter’s sensitivity.

Justice Department asks FEC to stand down as prosecutors probe Santos

The freshman lawmaker has resisted bipartisan calls for him to resign, as has House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who said Santos was legally elected and seated without objection. House Republicans assigned Santos to two House committees in January, but Santos later stepped down from those committees, saying he was a “distraction.”

Earlier this month, the House Ethics Committee’s board voted unanimously to establish an investigative subcommittee to look into a litany of claims about the freshman congressman, including about his past business practices, campaign finance expenditures and an allegation of sexual misconduct.

The bipartisan subcommittee will determine whether Santos, 34, may have “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office,” a statement from the panel’s leaders said.

Santos’s 2022 victory was marred by questions about how he funded his effort. Campaign finance records indicated he gave his 2022 campaign $700,000, well above what he appeared to be able to afford based on financial records he filed when he ran for the seat just two years earlier.

Santos won the open seat in the New York City area in November, helping Republicans retake the House majority. But the New York Times reported in December that Santos lied about companies where he claimed to have worked, schools he said he attended, and revealed an unresolved criminal case in Brazil.

Other news outlets, including The Post, revealed falsehoods and unverified statements in his background, from claiming to be the descendant of Holocaust survivors, to saying his mother was in the South Tower of the World Trade Center when it was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

In addition to the congressman’s personal campaign committee, the paperwork filed Tuesday also designates three other committees to raise and spend funds for his election efforts, should he decide to run: Take Back the House 2022, in Bethesda, and Devolder Santos Victory Committee and Devolder Santos Van Duyne Victory Committee, both in Queens.

Santos claimed in an interview last month that he wanted “to be the most transparent member of Congress,” and he asserted that his lying “stopped a long time ago.”

“Well, I’ve been a terrible liar … and what I tried to convey to the American people is, I made mistakes,” Santos said.


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