AS I SEE IT: Can a lie propel one to Congress?

Morally and ethically no, but it just happened in the last elections!

George Santos, who admitted he faked his resume and lied about everything, including his mom’s death, was sworn in as a duly elected congressman. 

While he was sworn in as a duly elected member of the House of Congress, GOP Rep. George Santos from New York, the recently elected GOP congressman has admitted to lying about parts of his resume, is facing escalating backlash from his own party as a growing number of House Republican lawmakers call for him to resign or say he can’t serve effectively even as Speaker Kevin McCarthy has stood by the embattled congressman. (Clare Foran and Manu Raju, CNN)

Santos has so far been defiant, pushing back on calls for his resignation – and House GOP leadership has not called on him to do so. McCarthy, a Republican from California who was elected s House Speaker with a very slim margin after 15 balloting, has indicated he will not join demands from New York GOP leaders, and others, for Santos’ resignation.

I think, McCarthy acted that way in support of Santos because Santos voted for him to be the Speaker. Perhaps, if not for his vote, he should have lost the election. And… McCarthy needs every vote in every bill he wants to pass. That’s where Santos will come in. McCarthy can’t afford to loss votes.

McCarthy told reporters on Thursday: “The voters of his district have elected him. He is seated. He is part of the Republican conference,” McCarthy said at a news conference on Capitol Hill. True, the voters voted for him, but I think McCarthy is wrong because had the voters known what Santos had put in his resume was not true, they should not have voted for him. They relied on his resume and they thought he was that person they thought to be… trustworthy and qualified as per his resume. Santos was not being truthful to his would-be constituents. In fact, he cheated his way to Congress!

Other than McCarthy, some GOP colleagues are supporting him. Majority Leader Steve Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, echoed McCarthy, saying, “Obviously, you know, we’re finding out more, but we also recognize that he was elected by his constituents.” Again, Scalise was wrong because had they known his true personality, they should not have voted for him.

Also, House GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, a New York Republican who endorsed Santos in his race, would not call on Santos to resign on Thursday.

“It will play itself out,” she told CNN. “He’s a duly-elected member of Congress. There have been members of Congress on the Democrat side who have faced investigations before.” Again, his being a duly-elected member of Congress is fake, just as his resume.

While some GOP are supporting Santos, the defiant congressman also faces growing condemnation from rank-and-file Republicans as new and damaging revelations come out about his past.

For example, two New York Republican lawmakers — US Reps. Marc Molinaro and Mike Lawler — told CNN on Thursday morning they don’t believe Santos can serve his district effectively. I agree! How can you serve effectively with truthfulness when you lied in the first place to be there?

Santos insisted he was elected by the people, so he refused to resign. “I was elected by the people” he said. Mr. Santos, although we know the election was rigged by his lies!

Santos, however, swiftly rejected the calls to resign. He is very defiant and had no intention to resign!

“Today, on behalf of the Nassau County Republican Committee, I’m calling for his immediate resignation,” chairman Joseph G. Cairo said at a news conference on Long Island, adding that the congressman’s campaign was made up “of deceit, lies and fabrication.”

Cairo was joined by a slate of local party officials and, remotely from Washington, DC, by Republican Rep. Anthony D’Esposito, who also called for Santos to step down. D’Esposito was joined later Wednesday in calling for Santos’ resignation by four more in the US House GOP conference: New York Reps. Nick LaLota, Nick Langworthy and Brandon Williams, as well as South Carolina Rep. Nancy Mace.

Santos is facing a long list of allegations and criticism from congressional Democrats, and a growing number of Republicans, after he admitted to fabricating sections of his resume – including his past work experience and education.

Republican Jewish Coalition Annual Leadership Meeting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 19. David Becker/Washington Post via Getty ImageBen Jacobs is a political reporter at Vox, based in Washington, DC. Ben has covered three presidential campaigns, as well as Capitol Hill, the White House, and the Supreme Court. His writing has appeared in publications including New York magazine, the Atlantic, and the Washington ExaminThe biography of newly elected Congress member George Santos seemed quite impressive. The 34-year-old son of immigrants had graduated from Baruch College, a public college in New York, before going on to work at firms like Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Santos eventually became a successful financier who started an animal rescue charity. The problem is that biography was apparently a lie, and now he might be facing not only political consequences but legal consequences for his wholesale inventions. (Ben Jacobs  Updated Jan 11, 2023, 11:58am EST)

The New York Times on December 19 revealed, it wasn’t just that Santos exaggerated his résumé — he had allegedly invented it out of whole cloth. There was really an intent to cheat and defraud his constituents.

More falsehoods were discovered. The Times found that he apparently did not graduate from Baruch College, he did not work for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, there were no records of him being a successful financier, nor were there of him registering his animal rescue charity. The Times also found that he had been charged with check fraud in Brazil.

Compounding the issue, a number of outlets have found no evidence of Santos’ repeated claims to be Jewish, to have Jewish heritage, or to be descended from refugees fleeing the Holocaust.

Santos admitted to putting “a little bit of fluff” on his résumé. In other words, he conceded that he never graduated from college, never worked for Goldman Sachs or Citigroup, and wasn’t Jewish (though he claimed to be “Jew-ish”).

Top Stories00:0600:30Spare is Prince Harry’s love letter to the people who willhate him for writing itThe story has sparked one of the more bizarre political scandals in American history. Members of Congress have committed murder in office. In fact, a member of Congress has even killed another member of Congress. Even in the present day, we’ve seen every scandal under the sun, from Anthony Weiner tweeting a lewd picture of himself, to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s infamous Facebook post about Jewish space lasers. But it’s hard to think of a precedent for a scandal like this. There are some things we know about Santos. The openly gay son of Brazilian immigrants, he was elected in November to an open congressional seat that includes a thin slice of Queens and much of the North Shore of Long Island in Nassau County. Santos defeated Democrat Robert Zimmerman by a margin of 54 percent to 46 percent. This represented a major swing from 2020 when Biden had won the district by the same margin. That year, Santos ran against incumbent Tom Suozzi in a similar district and lost handily by a margin of 56 percent to 43.5 percent Also, for all his alleged lying about his résumé, it is clear that one company Santos worked at, Harbor City Capital, has been accused by the Securities and Exchange Commission of being a Ponzi scheme. As for Santos’s other employment, he did spend a stint as a Portuguese language customer service agent for DISH Network a decade ago.

Another development that popped up was we don’t know where Santos’s money came from. It was reported that he loaned his own campaign $700,000 during the 2022 cycle and claimed an income of $750,000. He also listed millions of dollars in assets including an apartment in Rio De Janeiro worth up to $1 million and a seven-figure savings account. It’s a major shift in fortune for someone who was evicted twice, in 2015 and 2017, for failing to pay rent and had been taken to court for not paying debts.

Santos initially conceded that he owned no property, but in contrast, he had previously claimed on Twitter to be a landlord who owned 13 properties. The representative eventually claimed in an interview with Semafor that his newfound wealth came from “capital introduction” where he helped broker deals for the wealthy. Santos used a yacht sale as an example of how he earned a living, “If you’re looking at a $20 million yacht, my referral fee there can be anywhere between $200,000 and $400,000.”

Dan Goldman, a fellow representative from New York and a former prosecutor, has suggested that Santos face criminal investigation for conspiracy to defraud the United States as well as filing false statements to the Federal Election Commission.

So, Santos became a public property when he was sworn in as a representative. Thomas Jefferson enunciated the basic principle of public service: “When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property. Public service is a public trust,” as enunciated in the fundamental principles of ethical behavior.

(ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments, email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.)

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