George Santos faces prison fees from the Justice Division
Rep. George Santos, a Republican from New York, arrives for a vote at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, Tuesday, January 31, 2023.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos, RN.Y., has been criminally charged by the Justice Department, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The nature of the federal charges against the freshman congressman, who has admitted lying about his background, was initially unknown. Santos is scheduled to appear in federal court in Long Island, New York on Wednesday, sources told NBC.
Santos’ lawyer and spokesman did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment. A spokeswoman for the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York declined to comment.
News of the charges came just weeks after Santos announced his 2024 re-election campaign.
Santos was investigated over several scandals that marked his brief tenure in Congress.
Before being sworn in, Santos admitted he lied about his educational qualifications and work experience. He denied committing any crimes. However, he is reportedly under multiple scrutiny as authorities at numerous levels of government investigate his campaign finances and other issues.
Rep. Mike Lawler, another GOP freshman from New York, gave NBC a one-word reaction to the reported charges against Santos: “resigned.”
Lawler is the latest Republican to call for Santos’ resignation. But Santos has so far dismissed his critics, saying only voters in his district should decide whether or not he stays in Congress. Some polls have shown that Santos district voters are overwhelmingly negative across party lines.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who has a very slim majority and cannot afford to lose more than a handful of votes, has not joined calls from his peers for Santos to resign.
Asked about Santos’ legal troubles Tuesday, McCarthy said, “I’ll look into the allegations.”
A House ethics panel in March appointed a subcommittee to investigate possible unlawful activities by Santos’s congressional campaign. The subcommittee is also investigating an allegation of sexual harassment made earlier this year by Derek Myers, a journalist who says Santos groped him in his office while the two men were going through the inaugural mail alone. Santos has denied the allegation.
CNN first reported the allegations early Tuesday afternoon.