Politics

George Santos calls gutting of House Ethics Committee “fantastic”

George Santos
George SantosPhoto: George Santos campaign website

After the revelation of Rep. George Santos’s (R-NY)’s litany of lies, the newly elected out Congressman is celebrating the recent dismantling of the House Ethics Committee.

On Monday, the House’s slim Republican majority passed new rules that weaken the power of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE), which investigates members of Congress who have been accused of ethics violations and refers certain cases to the House Ethics Committee.

After the new rules were proposed, a group of 25 pro-democracy organizations sent a letter to the House urging them to reconsider what they said would “weaken the U.S. Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) to the point that it will not be able to perform its essential core function: providing oversight and accountability in Congress.”

“OCE is Congress’ only independent investigative body, and therefore one of the only safeguards against corruption in the House of Representatives,” the letter emphasized. “It is essential to protect and preserve the efficient functioning of OCE.”

The rules re-establish eight-year term limits for board members of the OCE, which means three of the four members appointed by Democrats will immediately be removed. And while it is possible for House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) to appoint new board members, doing so is a slow process.

The rules also state that any new OCE staff must be hired within 30 days of the rules passing, meaning if anyone leaves after the 30-day mark, they cannot be replaced at all during the 118th Congress. They also require four board members to approve any new staff member. OCE is reportedly seeking two new investigative counselors right now and currently has only one. It is now unlikely those positions will be filled.

Santos – who has already had multiple ethics complaints filed against him regarding campaign finance violations – told Business Insider that he thinks the changes are “fantastic” and that “I think it just gives them more power.”

After being elected to represent New York’s Third Congressional District and becoming the first out gay Republican elected to Congress, Santos’ life story came crumbling down as several newspapers reported he never went to the colleges he said he attended, never worked for the major banks he said he worked for, and that he had been lying about his family history as well. He has admitted to many of these lies, calling them “a little bit of fluff” on his resume.

He is also being investigated by authorities in Brazil for writing bad checks, something he reportedly confessed to in 2010.

Questions are also being raised about the nearly $3 million out Rep. George Santos (R-NY) raised for his 2022 campaign, with some donors saying they were tricked into believing that one of Santos’s staffers worked for one of the most powerful Republicans in D.C. instead of the political newcomer.

House Democrats disagree with Santos’s belief that the new rules governing the OCE are “fantastic.”

Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) told Insider the new rules will turn the OCE into a “toothless body in a forgotten hallway of the Capitol complex.”

“It does call into question if they’re just going to remove it every time they’re in the majority,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), who is currently under investigation by the House Ethics Committee for a reason that has not been disclosed.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) added, “I don’t understand how anyone interprets the results of the midterms to say we need less ethics standards.”

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