Sunday , March 26 2023

Who is George Santos and why is he in trouble?

Some of the controversies New York Republican congressman-elect George Santos is facing on the day he is scheduled to be sworn in include false claims of college degrees, a nonexistent real estate portfolio, and confusion over whether he is Jewish or just “Jewish.”

The 34-year-old described himself as “the full embodiment of the American dream” prior to his victory in the midterm election in November: An openly gay child of Brazilian immigrants who made it to Wall Street’s upper echelons before entering politics.

However, his victory lap has been brief.

The embattled candidate for representative acknowledged that substantial portions of Mr. Santos’s life narrative were entirely fabricated.

As he prepares to begin his duties on Capitol Hill, he now faces calls to resign amid federal and local investigations and nearly daily new allegations of lying.

What is known thus far?

George Santos, who is he?

Mr. Santos is a first-generation American who was born in Queens, New York, according to his campaign’s online biography, which has since been revised. According to the website, before settling in Brazil, his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.” His parents came to the United States from Brazil “in search of the American dream.”

Mr. Santos also said that he went to Baruch College in New York City and studied there before becoming a “seasoned Wall Street financier and investor” who had worked at prestigious companies like Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

In addition, Mr. Santos claimed that on September 11, his mother was “in her office in the south tower” of the World Trade Center and that he owned 13 properties that “he’d worked hard for.” His campaign’s website stated in October that she survived the attack but passed away several years later.

With his victory in November, Mr. Santos, a relative newcomer to American politics, was hailed as the first openly gay Republican to win a seat in the House of Representatives as a non-incumbent.

What allegedly was Santos lying about?

On December 19, a story in the New York Times called into question a significant portion of his CV, including his education and work experience.

Despite earlier boasts of being a “proud American Jew,” other news outlets have since discovered no evidence that his grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Europe or that he is Jewish.

Mr. Santos has acknowledged since the initial reports that he exaggerated his background. He never earned a college degree or worked for Citigroup or Goldman Sachs. He lives with his sister on Long Island, not in New York City, and does not own any real estate there.

Additionally, it was revealed that his mother died in 2016.

He also admitted that he had misrepresented his religion, stating to the New York Post that he is Catholic and that, after learning that his maternal family was Jewish, he had claimed to be “Jewish.”

Mr. Santos revealed to the Post, “My sins here are embellishing my resume.” I apologize.”

Which claims are the most recent?

However, the allegations leveled against him continue to rise.

The latest development is that Brazilian authorities have confirmed their intention to reopen fraud charges against Mr. Santos regarding the theft of a chequebook in 2008. Mr. Santos spent approximately $700 in the city of Niterói, near Rio de Janeiro, using a fictitious name and stolen checks, according to court records. Because Brazilian authorities were unable to locate him, the case had been put on hold.

The Brazilian prosecutor in charge of the case said in a statement to CBS, the BBC’s US partner, that Mr. Santos’ swearing in as a Congressman means “he has a certain address where he can be summoned” and that the case can continue.

Separately, the New York Times reported on December 29 that Mr. Santos’ campaign paid $11,000 to a cleaning company for “apartment rental for staff” and made a slew of payments totaling $199.99. This was exactly one cent below the threshold at which receipts are required by federal law. According to the newspaper, the figure “resembles the campaign filings of party leaders in Congress, as opposed to a newly elected congressman who is still introducing himself to local voters” includes $40,000 for air travel.

Federal and local authorities have pledged to investigate his finances, despite the fact that the extent of any violations is unknown. For instance, the Nassau County district attorney stated that his campaign is the subject of an investigation into “numerous fabrications and inconsistencies.”

Anne Donnelly, the district attorney, stated, “No one is above the law, and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it.”

Will Santos keep his job?

Mr. Santos has resisted calls to resign up until this point, despite mounting criticism, and prominent Republicans have largely remained silent. On January 3, it now appears that he will be sworn in as a representative.

His opponents on both sides of the political spectrum in the United States have not been silenced by his defiance or the party.

“He deceived us and misrepresented his heritage,” Matt Brooks, CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition, stated. He had previously stated his Jewishness to us personally and in public. He has started his time in Congress in a very bad way.”

Tulsi Gabbard, a former representative who left the Democratic Party in October, harshly criticized Mr. Santos for his “blatant lies” in a heated argument that was broadcast live on Fox News earlier this week.

“My question is, do you have no shame?” “If I were one of those in New York’s 3rd District right now, after the election is over, and I’m finding out all of these lies that you’ve told, not just one little lie or one little embellishment — these are blatant lies,” She inquired.

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