Metro Weekly

Democrats Call on George Santos to Resign

The congressman-elect's lawyer claims allegations Santos fabricated his biography are smears, alleging the Left is "threatened" by him.

George Devolder-Santos – Photo: Facebook

Following an exposé by The New York Times that alleges that New York Republican Congressman-elect George Devolder-Santos may have fabricated parts of his biography and résumé, several Democrats are demanding Santos, who is scheduled to be sworn into office on January 3, resign from the position he fought to win for the better part of the past two years. 

Santos, who won a Democratic-leaning seat representing Nassau County and part of Queens, had previously sought office during the 2020 cycle, when he lost to U.S. Tom Suozzi. This time, Suozzi opted to run for governor instead of pursue re-election. Santos beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman by 8 points, winning the seat.

During and after the 2020 campaign, Santos cultivated a reputation as a Trump devotee, attending an unmasked New Year’s celebration at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and traveling to Washington for the former president’s rally on the National Mall protesting the certification of the presidential election results — which ultimately devolved into a riot inside the U.S. Capitol Building.

In part, Santos’s identity, as a Trump-loving, gay Latino candidate was enough to generate some headlines, but much of his biography appeared to have been taken at face value prior to the publication of the Times story on Monday.

Santos, who billed himself as a Wall Street financier in his biography, was largely attacked by Democrats for his work for Harbor City Capital — a firm accused of ripping off investors of millions of dollars through a Ponzi scheme — and his failure to file financial disclosures, leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, House Democrats’ campaign arm, to attack him as a “shady Wall Street Bro.”

The DCCC also produced an in-depth research paper outlining what rank-and-file Democrats would typically view as “extreme” positions, including Santos’s support for an abortion ban with no exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother, with criminal charges for doctors who perform the procedure; his support for a “flat tax” that would be enacted by increasing taxes on lower-income individuals; his support for partial privatization of Social Security; and his opposition to COVID relief bills.

The idea of such “opposition research” is typically to uncover dirt on political opponents and pitch it to national and local media outlets in the hope that they will begin digging further into a candidate’s background or corner a candidate about their stance on a particular issue.

But even the DCCC’s research barely scratched the surface of Santos’s alleged deceptions, according to the Times.

In the wake of the story, pundits began placing blame on the failure of the national and state Democratic parties for not thoroughly vetting Santos. Others blamed journalists for not properly investigating Santos, despite prodding from Democratic campaigns.

“Opposition research is a key part of any campaign, and you do it on both your candidate and your opponent,” Republican political consultant Michael Dawidziak told CBS News.  “If they didn’t know about this then, it is shocking on both sides.” 

Other commentators have speculated that the loss of local news bureaus may have reduced the number of reporters available to investigate the allegations against Santos, or that the Democratic lean of the district — coupled with Santos’s 2020 loss and a severe underestimation of the strength of Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin, lulled reporters and political organizations into believing the race was not competitive, and therefore, unworthy of investigation.

Zimmerman, the Democrat who lost to Santos, tweeted from his personal Twitter account that “the story is not a shock.”

My campaign has been calling out [Santos]‘ scams and lies about himself for several months. We’ve worked to raise many of these issues,” Zimmerman wrote. “Local news organizations like Newsday, The Leader, and many others have documented Santos’ shady financial dealings and his shifting personal story. This only underscores the critical work of local and investigative press in holding those seeking power accountable.”

Zimmerman also called for investigations into Santos’s alleged deceptions.

The reality is Santos flat-out lied to the voters of #NY03. He’s violated the public trust in order to win office and does not deserve to represent #LongIsland and #Queens,” he tweeted. “Santos’ failure to answer any of the questions about these allegations demonstrates why he is unfit for public office and should resign. It demonstrates why there must be a House Ethics Committee, Federal Elections Commission, and U.S. Attorney investigation immediately.”

Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor recently elected to Congress in the Manhattan and Brooklyn-based 10th Congressional District, and who served as lead Democratic counsel during former President Donald Trump’s first impeachment, also called for an investigation into Santos.

“If allegations are true (and Santos has not even denied them), there are at least two possible federal crimes at play: 1) conspiracy to defraud the US (same as Mueller with Russians in 16 and Trump in 20), and: 2) filing false statements to FEC,” Goldman tweeted. “[The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York] should investigate.”


The director of Common Cause, a non-partisan “good government” organization, told CBS News that the House of Representatives should not seat Santos until the allegations against him are investigated, and suggested the attorney general and U.S. attorney should also investigate whether Santos may have broken the law with some of his deceptions.

Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, who lost the Democratic primary to Zimmerman, also called for ethics and campaign finance investigations to look into Santos’s behavior. 

“Politicians have lied. No one is surprised. But the scale the moral depravity, the sophistication of this web of lies is truly unprecedented,” Lafazan said. “We must call on Democrats and Republicans of good conscience to to speak up and speak out.”

Joseph Cairo, Jr., the chairman of the Nassau County Republican Committee, argued that Santos should be given the benefit of the doubt and given a chance to refute the allegations against him.

“While issues that have been raised in a December 19th New York Times article are serious, I believe that George Santos deserves an opportunity to address the claims detailed in the article, which have been repeated by other news sources,” Cairo said in a statement to CNN. “Every person deserves an opportunity to ‘clear’ his/her name in the face of accusations. I am committed to this principle, and I look forward to the Congressman-Elect’s responses to the news reports.”

Santos’s lawyer, Joseph Murray, released a statement that did not directly address the allegations against the congressman-elect, but accused the media of seeking to attack Santos because he does not kowtow to the liberal establishment and bucks expectations for gay and Latino candidates in terms of his positions and political leanings.

“George Santos represents the kind of progress that the Left is so threatened by — a gay, Latino, first-generation American and Republican who won a Biden district in overwhelming fashion by showing everyday voters that there is a better option than the broken promises and failed policies of the Democratic Party,” Murray said in a statement posted to Santos’s Twitter account.  “It is no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at The New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with defamatory allegations.”

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