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Ethics report finds Santos used campaign funds to pay for OnlyFans, Botox, Sephora

New York Republican Rep. George Santos will not run for reelection following a scathing House Ethics Committee report that referred his case to the Department of Justice.
Stefan Jeremiah
New York Republican Rep. George Santos will not run for reelection following a scathing House Ethics Committee report that referred his case to the Department of Justice.

New York Republican Rep. George Santos, who represents parts of Long Island and Queens, announced today he's dropping his bid for a second term after a House ethics reportblasted him for criminal activity and lying to voters.

"I will continue on my mission to serve my constituents up until I am allowed," Santos said on X, the social media site. "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 has already admitted lying about much of his life story to voters before winning a House seat in 2022.

Two of his campaign aides pleaded guilty to felony charges linked to his campaign and Santos himself has pleaded not guilty to 23 federal felony charges. His trial is expected to begin on Long Island next year.

The new report by the House Ethics Committee says a congressional probe found evidence of "alleged violations" by Santos that go beyond crimes detailed in the Justice Department's indictments. The committee referred their report to the department.

Investigators say cash contributed to Santos's election effort wound up being spent on personal expenses, including botox treatment, purchases at Hermes and Sephora and "purchases at OnlyFans."

"[D]espite his attempts to blame others for much of the misconduct, Representative Santos was a knowing and active participant in the wrongdoing," the report states. "Particularly troubling was Representative Santos' lack of candor during the investigation itself."

Santos, who has aligned himself with far-right members of the GOP caucus, maintains he committed no crimes and has described his lies as "embellishments" and "exaggerations."

Several House members have announced plans to file resolutions to remove Santos from office later this month when Congress returns from a Thanksgiving recess. Santos has already survived two attempts to remove him from office after several Republicans said they would withold judgment until after the release of the ethics report.

The report issued on Thursday concluded that Santos:

  • sought to "fraudulently exploit" every aspect of his House candidacy for personal profit
  • allegedly stole from his campaign, deceiving donors and channeling contributions for personal use
  • invented fictional loans to his own campaign to trick donors and Republican committees into contributing to his election war chest

While the report is often scathing, it proposes no specific actions be taken against Santos, who has already been stripped of his committee assignments.

Rep. Mike Lawler, also a Republican freshman from New York, renewed his call on Thursday for Santos to resign immediately without finishing his first term.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Brian Mann
Brian Mann is NPR's first national addiction correspondent. He also covers breaking news in the U.S. and around the world.