McCarthy: If House Ethics Finds Santos Guilty, He Will Be Removed

On Tuesday, Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that if the House Ethics Committee finds Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) has broken the law, he will be removed from his office.[0] The announcement comes amid a flurry of amended campaign finance reports from Santos' political operation, which revealed that a $500,000 loan he gave to his campaign didn't come from his personal funds as he'd previously claimed.[1]

The amended filings also showed that a $125,000 loan received on October 26 was also not from his “personal funds,” but failed to explain where the money had come from, when the loan was due, or what entity, if any, backed the money.[2] In an interview last month, Santos told a New York radio host the loans were “the money I paid myself” through his company, the Devolder Organization.[3]

In total, Santos said he lent his campaign more than $700,000.[2] The change in the campaign finance report has sparked criticism from House Democrats Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres, who filed a complaint with the Ethics Committee earlier this month and called on the committee to investigate Santos.[0]

McCarthy has refused to join in the criticism of Santos and instead tried to punt the matter to the House Ethics Committee, saying, “If for some way, when we go through Ethics, that he has broken the law, then we will remove him, but it’s not my role. I believe in the rule of law. A person’s innocent until proven guilty.”[4]

Questions have also been raised about the Santos campaign's fundraising and spending, including donors that appear to have given more than the federal contribution limit, and dozens of expenditures of $199.99 each, just under the $200 threshold that requires a receipt when reporting campaign expenses to the Federal Election Commission.[5] Last week, the House GOP Steering Committee recommended that Santos serve on the House Small Business Committee and House Science, Space and Technology Committee.[6]

0. “McCarthy: Santos out if Ethics panel finds laws broken” NewsNation Now, 25 Jan. 2023, https://www.newsnationnow.com/politics/mccarthy-santos-out-if-ethics-panel-finds-laws-broken/

1. “The improbability of George Santos' $199 expenses – POLITICO” POLITICO, 25 Jan. 2023, https://www.politico.com/news/2023/01/25/george-santos-199-expenses-00079334

2. “George Santos Personal Loan Admission Puts Republicans in Impossible Position” Newsweek, 25 Jan. 2023, https://www.newsweek.com/george-santos-personal-loan-puts-republicans-impossible-position-1776444

3. “Rep. George Santos now says campaign loan didn't come from his personal funds” CNBC, 25 Jan. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/01/24/rep-george-santos-now-says-campaign-loan-didnt-come-from-his-personal-funds.html

4. “The problem(s) with Kevin McCarthy’s standards on George Santos” MSNBC, 25 Jan. 2023, https://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/maddowblog/problems-kevin-mccarthys-standards-george-santos-rcna67399

5. “Santos lists new treasurer — who says he doesn't work for the congressman” ABC News, 26 Jan. 2023, https://abcnews.go.com/US/santos-lists-new-treasurer-claims-doesnt-work-congressman/story?id=96675494

6. “New York reps say Santos should not be allowed classified information” The Hill, 25 Jan. 2023, https://thehill.com/homenews/house/3830244-new-york-reps-say-santos-should-not-be-allowed-classified-information/