Republican George Santos admits he lied to New York voters during campaign

Democrats call for investigation after newly elected representative confesses he lied about his education, work history and cultural background

George Santos. AP
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Democrats are demanding that Republican George Santos, New York’s newly elected representative, step aside after admitting to fabricating parts of his CV, lying about his education and making misleading statements about being Jewish.

The Republican Jewish Coalition on Tuesday said the Congressman-elect said he deceived the organisation by misrepresenting his heritage.

"In public comments and to us personally he previously claimed to be Jewish. He has begun his tenure in Congress on a very wrong note," the RJC said, adding that Mr Santos would not be invited to any of its future events.

Ted Lieu, a Democratic US Representative and incoming vice chairman of the House Democratic caucus, called on Mr Santos to resign.

"If he does not, then @GOPLeader should call for a vote to expel @Santos4Congress,” Mr Lieu tweeted.

Mr Santos confessed to lying on Monday.

In an interview with The New York Post, Mr Santos said: “My sins here are embellishing my resume. I’m sorry.”

But Democrats want more than an apology.

“Santos’s lies were well known among House GOP leadership, who considered them a 'running joke',” New York representative-elect Dan Goldman tweeted.

“If GOP leadership seats Santos in Congress, they will confirm that the Republican Party does not believe in fair elections. Democracy is not a joke. Let’s see if Republicans agree.

“He didn’t graduate college, didn’t work on Wall Street and isn’t Jewish — all of which he asserted in order to dupe the voters in Queens and Nassau. Santos is not fit to be a member of Congress. He must resign.”

The Jewish-American website The Forward has questioned a claim made on Mr Santos’s campaign website, which said that his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII”.

“I never claimed to be Jewish,” Mr Santos told the Post. “I am Catholic. Because I learnt my maternal family had a Jewish background, I said I was ‘Jew-ish.’”

Some members of Congress are calling for an investigation into Mr Santos.

“We’ve seen people fudge their resume but this is total fabrication,” Representative Joaquin Castro said on Twitter, proposing the Republican “should also be investigated by authorities”.

The New York Times raised questions last week about the life story that Mr Santos had presented during his campaign.

For example, it found that he had lied about obtaining a degree from Baruch College in New York, as the school has no record of his time there.

On Monday, Mr Santos acknowledged: “I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning. I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my resume.

“I own up to that … We do stupid things in life.”

Mr Santos also said he had worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but neither company could find any records verifying that.

He told the Post that Link Bridge, an investment company where he was a vice president, did business with both.

“Even used cars come with greater protections for buyers in the state of New York,” tweeted former New York politician Steve Israel.

“You have defrauded the people I used to represent. Shameful.”

Mr Santos first ran for Congress in 2020 and lost. He ran again in 2022 and won in the district that includes some Long Island suburbs and a small part of Queens.

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Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: December 27, 2022, 8:38 PM