Lauren C. Moye, FISM News
Multiple congress members are under investigation for ethics violations according to announcements made the past two days, including embattled Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) and members of ‘The Squad.’
THE MANY ALLEGED WRONGS OF SANTOS
The House Ethics Committee opened a formal investigation into Santos with unanimous agreement, Chairman Michael Guest (R-Miss.) and Ranking Member Susan Wild (D-Penn.) stated yesterday.
An investigative subcommittee led by Rep. Dave Joyce (R-Ohio) has been established to determine if Santos “engaged in unlawful activity with respect to his 2022 congressional campaign; failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House; violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services; and/or engaged in sexual misconduct towards an individual seeking employment in his congressional office.”
The first openly gay Republican representative began his 2022 term amid controversy that only increased after he admitted to lying on his campaign trail. He also said he lied without detection during his failed bid for the House seat in 2020.
Santos faces a wide range of allegations that sometimes border on the bizarre. This includes a report from two former associates that he competed in a Brazilians drag show sometime around 2008. He was also accused of letting a military dog die after reallocating $3,000 to provide necessary medical treatment for the canine to other pets.
Santos has promised to cooperate with the investigation.
The House Committee on Ethics has opened an investigation, and Congressman George Santos is fully cooperating. There will be no further comment made at this time.
— Rep. George Santos (@RepSantosNY03) March 2, 2023
Joyce will be joined by Wild and Reps. John Rutherford (R-Fla.) and Glenn Ivey (D-Md.).
‘THE SQUAD’ UNDER SCRUTINY
Santos is not the only Rep. that is under scrutiny for ethics violations. According to announcements made Thursday and Friday, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Cori Bush (D-Mon.), both members of the far-left ‘Squad’ are also under investigation.
The House Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) found “substantial reason to believe” that Ocasio-Cortez had violated rules that prevent congressmen from receiving gifts multiple times in connection with her 2021 Met Gala appearance. Their report reads that Ocasio-Cortez “received a series of goods and services which she did not pay for.”
Ocasio-Cortez received a couture dress and accessories as well as hair, make-up, transportation, and other services. Her partner at the event, Riley Roberts, also received a bowtie and shoes.
While Ocasio-Cortez’s office did eventually pay the rental value of her attire and for the goods and services, this did not happen until after the OCE opened their review into the September 2021 event. This creates the appearance that the New York representative would not have paid the associated costs without the probe into her affairs.
The congresswoman told OCE that she had not violated House rules. She had been advised by her team and counsel ahead of the Met Gala “that she would be personally paying” costs associated with her public appearance. According to her council, the OCE identified an “unacceptable” payment delay.
The Committee on Ethics announced yesterday they had accepted the OCE recommendation.
Fellow Squad member Bush is also under investigation after the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust (FACT) identified a potential use of “campaign funds for personal use” after paying her now-husband, Cortney Merrits, $60,000 for security services.
Merrits does not possess the necessary private security training to conduct these services in the St. Louis region, which includes Bush’s entire congressional district, in connection with the payment.
Meanwhile, Bush also paid an additional $255,000 to PEACE Security and $50,000 to Nathaniel Davis for security and personal protection.
“It appears Rep. Bush’s campaign may have made payments for services that were unnecessary or above fair market value because of her personal relationship with the payee,” FACT wrote in the complaint sent to the Federal Ethics Committee. “If so, these payments would qualify as either impermissible payments to a family member or an impermissible gift.”
FACT has requested the FEC to begin an investigation into the potential violation of campaign laws.