A House Republican is eyeing legislation that would prevent Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) from profiting off his fabrications if he is convicted of an offense involving financial or campaign finance fraud, intensifying his opposition to Santos amid the embattled congressman’s growing controversy.
Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-N.Y.) — who was the first House Republican to call on Santos to resign amid questions about his biography and finances — is circulating a bill and a resolution that bear some differences but would both prohibit members of the House found guilty of an offense “involving financial or campaign finance fraud from receiving compensation for biographies, media appearances or expressive or creative works.”
The bill, titled the “No Fortune for Fraud Act,” would create a law prohibiting House lawmakers convicted of such offenses from profiting off their fabrications, while the resolution, titled the “No Fame for Fraud Resolution,” would amend House rules to make such a regulation for those who are indicted, according to copies of the legislation obtained by The Hill.
The measures do not specifically mention Santos, but asked Tuesday if they are meant to target the New York Republican, D’Esposito told The Hill, “it’s one of those things that if the shoe fits, wear it; in his case, even if the shoe doesn’t fit he still wears it.”
Additionally, a Republican with direct knowledge of the move told Politico — which first reported on the measures — that the legislation was triggered by Santos.
Santos has not been convicted of any offenses, but a number of entities have received formal complaints about the congressman or are said to be looking into him amid questions about his finances. Outlets reported in December that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York was looking into Santos’s finances and financial disclosures, and the House Ethics Committee has received a complaint about the congressman that accused him of failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports.
The New York Republican told Axios on Tuesday that he has not “been convicted of any crime.”
Santos has drawn significant scrutiny since being elected in November to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District amid questions about his background and finances.
The freshman lawmaker has admitted to embellishing parts of his work history and falsely claiming that he graduated from college. Questionable aspects of his financial disclosure reports are further fueling the controversy surrounding him.
Lawmakers from both parties have called on Santos to resign. Two of those Republicans — Reps. Marc Molinaro (N.Y.) and Nick Lalota (N.Y.), both of whom are freshman — are co-sponsoring D’Esposito’s bill, according to Axios.
Despite that mounting pressure, however, the New York Republican has vowed to remain in Congress.
“Let me be very clear, I’m not leaving, I’m not hiding and I am NOT backing down,” he wrote on Twitter earlier this month. “I will continue to work for #NY03 and no amount of Twitter trolling will stop me. I’m looking forward to getting what needs to be done, DONE!”
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