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House Ethics Committee: ‘Substantial evidence’ George Santos used campaign funds for personal use

The House Ethics Committee released its long-awaited report on the investigation into GOP Rep. George Santos on Thursday, concluding that there is “substantial evidence” that the congressman used campaign funds for personal purposes.

The report said Santos engaged in “knowing and willful violations” with regard to financial disclosure statements filed with the House, and “knowingly caused his campaign committee to file false or incomplete reports with the Federal Election Commission.”

A statement from the committee accompanying the report said the panel unanimously voted to adopt the report. The committee said it uncovered additional “uncharged and unlawful conduct” by Santos that go beyond the criminal allegations already pending against him, and would immediately refer these allegations to the Justice Department for further investigation.

The panel concluded Santos “sought to fraudulently exploit every aspect of his House candidacy for his own personal financial profit.”

The panel said that the conduct of the congressman merits “public condemnation, is beneath the dignity of the office, and has brought severe discredit upon the House.”

Santos declined a voluntary interview and also did not submit a written response to the allegations from the Ethics panel.

But the committee decided against issuing a subpoena to Santos because of his likelihood to invoke his Fifth Amendment right and that his testimony “would have low evidentiary value given his admitted practice of embellishment.”

The panel also said Santos “did not fully cooperate” with the investigation.

The release of the report is the latest blow to the New York Republican, who has separately pleaded not guilty to 23 federal charges, including allegations of fraud related to Covid-19 unemployment benefits, misusing campaign funds and lying about his personal finances on House disclosure reports. Santos has remained defiant in the face of the mounting legal issues he faces.

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