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Rep. George Santos (R-NY) said in a statement Tuesday that he requested that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) remove him from his committee assignments amid several active criminal investigations into him.
The freshman congressman, who has admitted to lying about aspects of his career and personal life, is facing probes from federal and local authorities.
“With the ongoing attention surrounding both my personal and campaign financial investigations, I have submitted a request to Speaker McCarthy that I be temporarily recused from my committee assignments until I am cleared,” Santos said in a statement. “This was a decision that I take very seriously.”
“The business of the 118th Congress must continue without media fanfare,” he continued. “It is important that I primarily focus on serving the constituents of New York’s Third Congressional District and providing federal level representation without distraction.”
Santos thanked McCarthy for meeting with him and for allowing him to step away from his committee assignments, claiming that he was going to “clear” his name.
“To my constituents, I remain committed to serving the district, and delivering results for both New York’s Third Congressional District and for the American people,” Santos said.
Santos has already admitted that he fibbed about working for financial titans Goldman Sachs and Citigroup; he also admitted that he did not graduate from college. Furthermore, Santos admitted that he embellished some of the details of his personal life, his religion, and his sexuality.
The New York Times reported earlier this month that law enforcement officials in Brazil “intend to revive fraud charges” against Santos stemming from an incident in 2008 that involved a checkbook that was allegedly stolen.
The case was suspended because law enforcement was not able to find him, the report said. Brazilian prosecutors will now make a formal request to the Department of Justice to notify Santos of the charges.
The alleged incident happened when Santos, then 19, entered a small clothing store and spent $700 using a stolen checkbook and a false name, the report said. He allegedly admitted to the fraud on a Brazilian social media website the following year.
He and his mother allegedly admitted to police in 2010 that he stole the checkbook to make fraudulent purchases, the report said. The following year the charge against Santos was approved, but he had already left the country and was living in the U.S.
The report added that at this point in the case, neither U.S. nor Brazilian officials can get Santos to respond. However, that could change if the case moves forward. If convicted, Santos could face up to half a decade in prison.