The tall tales from Congressman-elect George Santos keep piling up.
After the New York Times revealed that Santos had appeared to fabricate most of his life story, additional reporting has suggested that the newly elected congressman likely lied about having Jewish heritage and having employed people who were killed in the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting, among other things. Now Santos’s past statements, including social-media posts, are getting more scrutiny. For instance, in a 2021 tweet, Santos said the September 11 attack “claimed his mother’s life.” But his campaign biography stated that she worked in the South Tower and fled her office safely, later dying of cancer. In another tweet months later, Santos cited December 23 as the anniversary of her death.
Reporters also unearthed old posts from Santos in which he classified himself as biracial, something he didn’t mention during his campaign.
Also in the last 48 hours: CNN reported that Santos claimed to have attended Horace Mann, a prestigious New York City prep school, but that he had to drop out because of financial hardship in his family. However, a school spokesman told the outlet that there was no record of Santos ever going there.
While House Republicans don’t seem eager to punish Santos in any tangible way, legal inquiries have already begun. State Attorney General Letitia James’s office announced it would be looking into “a number of issues raised about Santos,” and Anne T. Donnelly, the Republican Nassau County district attorney, has also opened an investigation, telling Newsday in a statement, “The residents of Nassau County and other parts of the third district must have an honest and accountable representative in Congress. No one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it,” she said.
Given that lying is not a crime, it’s unclear what avenues these probes might take. But federal prosecutors are also investigating Santos in connection to financial disclosures he made, per CBS, which should probably scare the Congressman-elect. Santos’s finances — specifically the question of where the money he financed his campaign came from — remain an unsolved part of this puzzle.
In an interview with the New York Post this week, Santos admitted to fabricating some details of his life story but maintains that it won’t affect his ability to do his job once he’s officially sworn in on January 3.