In a damning 56-page report published Thursday, the bipartisan panel found “substantial evidence” that the Queens/Long Island congressman filed false or incomplete campaign finance and financial disclosure reports, defrauded donors and improperly used campaign funds for purchases at Hermès, Sephora and OnlyFans — and even Botox injections.
The panel voted unanimously to refer its findings to the Justice Department, saying Santos’ behavior “warrants public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.”
Moments after the report’s release, Santos announced he would not seek reelection, though he denied all the allegations.
“I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed,” he wrote in a statement on X, formerly Twitter. “I will however NOT be seeking re-election for a second term in 2024 as my family deserves better than to be under the gun from the press all the time.”
Santos’ decision not to run for re-election opens up a swing seat that could help determine the next House majority.
Democrat Tom Suozzi, the former congressman whose decision to primary Gov. Kathy Hochul last year may have cleared the way for Santos’ path to Congress, is hoping to flip his former seat. Even before the results of the investigation were unveiled, several Long Island Republicans, including a retired NYPD detective, had launched challenges to Santos.
Rep. Dan Goldman (D- Manhattan/Brooklyn) — who with Bronx Rep. Ritchie Torres filed the complaint that led the House investigation — urged his colleagues to move forward with Santos’ “immediate removal.”
“Now that Republicans no longer have any fictional excuse to protect Santos in order to preserve their narrow majority, I hope they will join Democrats in expelling him from Congress immediately,” he said in a statement Thursday.
Though he has survived two expulsion votes, Santos evidently decided he couldn’t overcome the House panel’s findings.
The Republican chair of the ethics committee, Rep. Michael Guest (R-Miss.), said he intends to file a motion to expel Santos on Friday, and several GOP House members who previously voted “present” or against Santos’ expulsion said they would vote to boot the first-term Republican.
House ethics investigators determined that Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”
In one example, Santos used $50,000 from two donors for shopping sprees at Hermès and Sephora, to make purchases on OnlyFans, and to pay down his personal credit card bills. He also used campaign funds to pay for stays at an Atlantic City resort and for more than $3,000 in aesthetician procedures, including two identified as Botox treatments.
The report comes just days after a second Santos aide, Sam Miele, pleaded guilty to a federal wire fraud charge. Nancy Marks, Santos’ ex-campaign treasurer and a longtime political operative on Long Island, pleaded guilty last month to federal fraud conspiracy charges.
Santos himself faces a 23-count federal indictment alleging he stole the identities of campaign donors, using their credit cards to improperly move money to his campaign coffers and his own bank accounts. He has pleaded not guilty.