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Calls for investigations mount against Long Island Rep.-elect George Santos

Representative-elect George Santos, R-New York, speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition on Saturday, Nov. 19 in Las Vegas.
John Locher
Representative-elect George Santos, R-New York, speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas.

Incoming House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries has accused Republican Congressman-elect George Santos of defrauding Long Island voters by lying about his credentials.

The New York Times reported Monday that Wall Street investors and colleges listed on his resume have no record of him being part of their institutions.

“Right now, George Santos appears to be in the Witness Protection Program. No one can find him,” Jeffries said Wednesday at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “He’s hiding from legitimate questions that his constituents are asking about his education, about his so-called charity, about his work experience, about his criminal entanglement in Brazil, about every aspect, it appears, of his life.”

Santos’ lawyer said the accusations are a part of a Democratic scheme to undermine his election to the state’s 3rd congressional district. Joseph Cairo Jr., the chair of Nassau County's Republican committee, told NPR that the allegations are “serious” but Santos deserves an opportunity to clear his name.

“He pretended to be a moderate on the campaign trail. We know that is not true. He's consistently played footsie with white supremacists, election deniers, and those who seek to overturn our democracy,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries said it will be up to Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is poised to be voted House majority leader, whether Santos is worthy of being seated when the new Congress takes office on Jan. 3.

Santos has said he would vote in favor of McCarthy’s nomination, as far-right members of his party wrestle with the 218 votes necessary for the position. Santos beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman to become among the handful of November midterm election wins needed to gain the narrow GOP majority in the House.

"I have my story to tell and it will be told next week. I want to assure everyone that I will address your questions and that I remain committed to deliver the results I campaigned on," Santos tweeted Thursday.

Santos’ silence has led to calls for a federal investigation into voter fraud and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. in connection to campaign donations. New York Attorney General Letitia James has also started to look into issues surrounding Santos' alleged lies.

He is also under fire by some Jewish groups for allegedly lying about his grandparents fleeing the Holocaust.

“If an investigation doesn’t happen promptly and with urgency, then what it shows is that some people are above the law,” said Nassau County Legislator Josh Lafazan, D-Woodbury. “And for a democracy to function there has to be trust from the people and their elected officials that everyone is held to an equal standard in the eyes of the law.”

Progressives on Long Island have also called for Nassau County Democratic Chair Jay Jacobs, who also leads the statewide party committee, to resign for a clear lack of opposition research ahead of Election Day.

Zimmerman has said the state was too busy following outgoing Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin’s campaign for governor.

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's managing editor. He also hosts the climate podcast Higher Ground. J.D. reports for public radio stations across the Northeast, is a journalism educator and proud SPJ member.
Eric Warner is a news fellow at WSHU.