The chairman of one of two House committees on which George Santos will sit defended the decision, despite the New York Republican’s résumé having been shown to be largely made-up and amid allegations of deceitful and criminal behaviour now including bilking a disabled veteran out of $3,000 raised to save the life of his dog.
Roger Williams of Texas, chair of the small business committee, told CNN: “I don’t condone what he said, what he’s done. I don’t think anybody does. But that’s not my role. He was elected.”
Santos is also reportedly set to sit on the science, space and technology committee. CNN said requests for seats on panels dealing with the financial sector and foreign policy were rebuffed.
Santos won election in New York’s third district in November. Since then, he has been the subject of relentless media scrutiny, calls to resign from his own party and from Democrats, and multiple calls for investigations of his campaign finances.
But Williams was following a party line set by the new House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, who Santos supported through 15 votes for the speakership and who must work with a narrow majority.
Democrats led by Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres, both from New York, have called for an investigation of what Republican leaders knew about Santos’s deceptions before he won election and was seated.
On Monday, McCarthy told reporters: “I never knew about his résumé or not but I always had a few questions about it.”
On Tuesday, Goldman said: “The public has no choice but to believe that McCarthy was complicit in concealing Mr Santos’s lies in order to flip a seat in a win-at-all-costs effort to gain power.”
Amid spiraling claims about Santos’s personal and professional life, it was alleged on Tuesday that he stole $3,000 from a fundraising account set up to pay for life-saving surgery for a disabled veteran’s dog.
According to Patch, Santos became involved with the New Jersey veteran, Richard Osthoff, and his dog, Sapphire, in 2016. Needing to raise money, the report said, Osthoff was told a man named Anthony Devolder, with a pet charity called Friends of Pets United, could help.
As Patch reported, “Anthony Devolder is one of the names that Long Island representative George Santos used for years before entering politics in 2020.”
Osthoff said Santos eventually took the money and disappeared. Osthoff’s dog died.
Santos did not comment. He has admitted “embellishing” his résumé but denied wrongdoing and said he will not resign from Congress.