WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. House of Representatives Ethics Committee said on Thursday it had opened an investigation into Republican congressman George Santos, who has admitted to lying about his resume but defied calls to step down.
The panel voted on Tuesday to investigate whether Santos engaged in illegal activity over his 2022 campaign, failed to properly disclose information required on House statements, violated federal laws concerning his role in a financial firm, and engaged in sexual misconduct toward someone seeking a job in his House office, the committee said in a statement.
Based on the findings of the investigation, the panel could impose a fine or recommendation for disciplinary action, such as a formal censure or reprimand.
When asked for comment, Santos’s office directed Reuters to a tweet from his congressional Twitter account, which said he is “fully cooperating” with the investigation.
The first-term lawmaker from New York state has admitted he fabricated much of his resume. Santos had said he had degrees from New York University and Baruch College, despite neither institution having any record of him attending.
He also falsely claimed to have worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. In addition, he falsely said that he was Jewish and that his grandparents escaped the Nazis during World War Two.
Santos has refused to step down despite mounting pressure from within his own party, insisting that he is the elected representative for New York’s third district.
Multiple fellow lawmakers from his own party have called for him to step down, and even Republican Speaker Kevin McCarthy has said he would have “a little difficulty” supporting Santos if he stood for reelection.
Republicans control an extremely narrow margin in the House, in part thanks to surprise victories in New York state like Santos, who flipped his district in November’s midterm elections.
(Reporting by Eric Beech and Moira Warburton, editing by Deepa Babington)