An Incoming GOP Rep-Elect Appears To Have Been Caught in a Web of Lies

The New York Times published a deep-dive into Rep. George Santos’ official biography, and a lot of things came up questionable — at best.

Credit: WADE VANDERVORT/AFP via Getty Images
Credit: WADE VANDERVORT/AFP via Getty Images

A GOP representative-elect from New York hasn’t even taken office yet, and he’s already coming under scrutiny for allegedly lying… a lot.

George Santos is an incoming freshman lawmaker, set to take his seat in Congress in January. A Republican, Santos’ victory in NY’s 3rd Congressional District was a crucial win for the GOP in their successful bid to take control of the House in November. However, yesterday, The New York Times published a deep-dive into Santos’ official biography, and a lot of things came up questionable — at best.

Santos claimed he graduated from Baruch College in 2010, but the college says it has no record of him. Santos also says he worked at Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, but those firms apparently have no record of him, either. According to his financial disclosure form, he drew a $750,000 salary from some company named the Devolder Organization, but it has no website or LinkedIn. Santos claims it’s a “family firm” that managed $80 million in assets, but he didn’t list any of its clients in his disclosures.

In what might be his most egregious lie, Santos, who is the first openly gay GOP candidate to win a House race as a non-incumbent, had asserted a personal connection to 2016’s Pulse nightclub shooting. In an interview with WNYC last month, he said he “lost four employees” at the shooting, but The New York Times could not find evidence connecting Santos with any of the 49 victims.

Santos’ lawyer responded to the accusations in a short statement, but didn’t actually provide much of a denial of The NYT’s reporting, instead painting Santos as a victim of the all-powerful “Left.” “After four years in the public eye, and on the verge of being sworn in as a member of the Republican led 118th Congress, the New York Times launches this shotgun blast of attacks,” the statement reads. “It is no surprise that Congressman-elect Santos has enemies at the New York Times who are attempting to smear his good name with these defamatory allegations.”

Santos is still on track to join the House on January 3, when the 118th Congress begins its session. But if he was hoping for a smooth start to his new gig, that’s now looking pretty unlikely. Questions about the gaps in his financial, employment, and educational records are likely to dog him in the press for the foreseeable future. They could also potentially lead to an investigation by the House Ethics Committee, though his fellow Republicans may protect him on that front, given they hold the chamber’s majority in 2023.

As The New York Times’ report began gaining traction yesterday, it also left many pundits and progressivesasking the samequestion: How the heck were Democrats caught this flat-footed by Santos’ trail of lies in the first place? Today, NBC News published its own analysis of how the Democrats seemingly bungled their opposition research so badly and whether those failings are a sign of a larger pattern across the country.