Two Democratic lawmakers from New York called on GOP leaders Sunday to “forthrightly cooperate” with all the investigations into freshman Rep. George Santos, the Republican who confessed to having fabricated large parts of his résumé.
In a letter Sunday, Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres asked Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House GOP caucus chair Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., and Congressional Leadership Fund President Dan Conston to “proactively and forthrightly cooperate with all current and future investigations into Mr. Santos, including the investigation by the House Committee on Ethics that Speaker McCarthy confirmed this week.”
“In addition, we urge you to inform the American people about your knowledge of Mr. Santos’s web of deceit prior to the election so that the public understands whether and to what extent you were complicit in Mr. Santos’s fraud on his voters.”
The letter points to a recent New York Times report that detailed GOP leaders’ awareness of Santos’ false claims before the November midterms election.
The report expanded “upon the degree to which each of you had at least some foreknowledge of Mr. Santos’s lies,” Goldman and Torres wrote. “Sadly, even now, after eight other Republican members of Congress have called for Mr. Santos to resign, you have refused to make any public comment on Mr. Santos’s fraudulent candidacy, nor have you shared with the public your understanding of Mr. Santos’s blatant deception and lies prior to the election.”
NBC News has not independently verified The Times’ reporting.
The Democratic lawmakers wrote that Stefanik remained one of Santos’ top supporters during his campaign and that one of her top aides assisted his campaign even after many staffers were reported to have quit after the “vulnerability study.”
“It is one thing for a candidate such as Mr. Santos to induce voters to support him based on a web of lies,” Goldman and Torres wrote. “But it is altogether something else if the top levels of Republican leadership knew about Mr. Santos’s lies during the campaign and chose to be complicit.”
Last week, Goldman and Torres filed a complaint asking the House Ethics Committee to launch a probe into Santos’ financial disclosure reports and alleging that he violated the Ethics in Government Act with his “sparse and perplexing” reports. They said that he failed to file “timely disclosure reports” for his most recent campaign and that his public statements “contradicted some information” in his 2022 financial disclosure.
House Republicans’ calls for Santos to resign have grown in the past week after state GOP leaders and lawmakers in New York said he should step aside. McCarthy, who leads a slim GOP majority in the House, has not joined the calls.
“He’s got a long way to go to earn trust, but the one thing I do know is you apply the Constitution equal to all Americans,” McCarthy told reporters Thursday. “The voters of his district have elected him. He is seated. He is part of the Republican Conference. There are concerns with him, so he will go before Ethics. If anything is found to be wrong, he will be held accountable exactly as anybody else in this body would be.”
Santos has stood his ground. He said Thursday that “if 142 people ask for me to resign, I will resign.” He later clarified that he was referring to the more than 142,000 people who elected him in November’s race in New York’s 3rd Congressional District. Santos said he would be in Congress “until those same 142,000 people tell me they don’t want me.”
Summer Concepcion is a politics reporter for NBC News.