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After ethics complaint, what’s next for George Santos?

Rep. George Santos had barely moved into his new Capitol Hill office when two Democratic House colleagues formally filed a complaint, demanding the House Committee on Ethics investigate the scandal-plagued member of Congress.

However, a former member of the ethics panel — former Hudson Valley Rep. Mondaire Jones — says that if the committee does move ahead with a full investigation of Santos, do not expect a resolution anytime soon.

“It is far more likely that there will be some indictment by the federal Department of Justice or some local prosecutor’s office, than there will be an ethics committee finding or recommendation to the House,” Jones said.

What You Need To Know

  • In their ethics complaint, two New York Democrats accused Rep. George Santos of “failing to file timely, accurate, and complete financial disclosure reports”
  • Former Hudson Valley Rep. Mondaire Jones — a former member of the House Committee on Ethics — says that if the committee launches an extensive investigation, any resolution to the complain could be a ways off
  • What sort of sanctions could the Ethics panel recommend for Santos? The list includes censure or expulsion, Jones says

Jones notes that some inquiries the committee began years ago are still not wrapped up in no small part, he says, due to insufficient staffing and resources.

Separately, Santos is facing probes by state and local prosecutors.

In their complaint against Santos, Reps. Dan Goldman and Ritchie Torres accuse the New York Republican of “failing to file timely, accurate, and complete financial disclosure reports.”

Jones says that now that a complaint is filed, there will be a preliminary investigation at the staff level and then the committee will decide whether to authorize a more extensive investigation or drop the case.

“The complaint now has to be addressed in some way. It has to be disposed of,” Jones said.

Unlike other committees in the House, the ethics panel is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.

In terms of potential sanctions, Jones says the committee can recommend that the full House censure or chastise Santos. Or it could take the rare step of recommending the House expel him.

Jones is skeptical that the last option in particular is in the cards.

“That is highly unlikely to happen. Expulsion requires a two-thirds vote and not even the Speaker of the House, a member of Mr. Santos’s own party, has criticized him in any meaningful way,” he said.

Santos is under pressure from fellow New York Republicans to cooperate with any investigation. In the event an ethics probe is launched, Spectrum News NY1 has been told he plans to do so.

Santos has said he did nothing wrong beyond lying about his education and work history.

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