Rep. George Santos just moved into his new office on Capitol Hill after two House Democratic colleagues formally filed a complaint asking the House Ethics Committee to investigate the scandal-plagued congressman.
However, a former member of the ethics committee — former Hudson Valley Rep. Mundell Jones — said that if the committee does move forward with a full investigation of Santos, don’t expect a resolution any time soon.
“A prosecution by the federal Justice Department or the District Attorney’s Office is more likely than an ethics committee’s findings or recommendations to the House,” Jones said.
what you need to know
- In their ethics complaint, two New York Democrats accused Rep. George Santos of “failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports.”
- Former Hudson Valley Rep. Mundell Jones — a former member of the House Ethics Committee — said any resolution of the complaint could be a way forward if the committee launches a broad investigation.
- What sanctions could the ethics committee recommend for Santos?Jones said the list included reprimand or expulsion
Jones noted that some of the investigations the committee began years ago remain largely unfinished, he said, due to insufficient staffing and resources.
Separately, Santos is facing investigations by state and local prosecutors.
In the complaint against Santos, Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres accused the New York Republican of “failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports.”
Now that the complaint has been lodged, an initial investigation will take place at the staff level before the committee decides whether to authorize a broader investigation or drop the case, Jones said.
“The complaint has to be resolved somehow now. It has to be disposed of,” Jones said.
Unlike other committees in the House, the Ethics Committee is split evenly between Democrats and Republicans.
In terms of potential sanctions, Jones said the committee could recommend that the full House condemn or punish Santos. Or it could take the rare step of advising the House to oust him.
Jones doubts that last option exists.
“It’s unlikely to happen. A two-thirds vote is required for expulsion, and even the Speaker of the House, a member of Mr. Santos’ own party, has not criticized him in any meaningful way,” he said.
Santos has come under pressure from fellow Republicans in New York to cooperate with any investigation. If an ethics investigation were launched, Spectrum News NY1 was told he planned to do so.
Santos has said he did nothing wrong except lie about his education and work history.