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The House Ethics Committee is investigating Rep. George Santos

Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill on Jan. 25, 2023.
Andrew Harnik
/
AP
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill on Jan. 25, 2023.

Updated March 2, 2023 at 4:06 PM ET

After months of scandal, the House Ethics Committee announced Thursday it has opened a formal investigation into New York Republican Rep. George Santos.

A statement released by the panel stated an investigative subcommittee will examine whether Santos "engaged in unlawful activity" during his 2022 campaign.

The probe will also determine whether Santos violated federal conflict of interest laws and whether he "engaged in sexual misconduct" toward an individual who was seeking a job in the freshman congressman's House office. Santos has denied that allegation.

In its statement, the Ethics Committee noted that opening an investigation "does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred." If the panel finds that Santos committed ethics violations, punishments could range from a reprimand to expulsion from the House of Representatives, depending on the severity of the conduct.

Santos' verified Twitter account stated the congressman "is fully cooperating. There will be no further comment made at this time."

House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said Santos will remain a member in good standing in the GOP caucus until a full investigation is complete.

Santos has said he plans to serve out his full two-year term. He has admitted "embellishing" his resume before winning a seat on Long Island last November, but has repeatedly denied any criminal wrongdoing.

Santos lied to voters about his education and his career, invented a fictional Jewish heritage for his family and claimed falsely that employees working for him died in the 2016 Pulse night club shooting.

A growing number of Republicans have called for his ouster, and Santos is widely viewed as a pariah in his home district on Long Island, which includes a small portion of Queens.

Santos also faces investigations from state and federal prosecutors.

One question which he has declined to answer is where he got hundreds of thousands of dollars that he loaned to his own campaign.

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