Republican George Santos became a full member of the 118th Congress early Saturday morning, sworn in to represent part of New York and Long Island for, presumably, a two-year term.
So far, Santos has resisted calls to step down amid revelations about his background, which he appears to have largely fabricated. His fellow Republicans have also shown little appetite for pushing him to resign.
The list of things he seems to have made up is staggering, including apparent lies about his religious affiliation, education, ancestry – even his mother’s death.
But whether he could face charges is still an open question.
Santos is under investigation at the federal and local levels: Authorities in Nassau County, New York, have pledged to pursue any wrongdoing while federal prosecutors say they are reviewing his finances.
Santos admitted to “exaggerating[ing]and ’embellished’ his resume after The New York Times said its reporters could not substantiate several basic details about him, such as that he worked for Goldman Sachs, graduated from Baruch College or headed an organization animal rescue charity called Friends of Pets United The Times report also cast doubt on the source of his income and wealth, finding little evidence that his alleged family business actually exists.
Questions also linger over how he funded his successful campaign. Santos beat Democrat Robert Zimmerman by about eight points in November, becoming the first openly gay freshman Republican in the House.
“I’m not a criminal,” he told the New York Post in late December.
“That [controversy] will not prevent me from having a good legislative success. I will be efficient. I will be good.
For their part, the new Republican colleagues of Santos do not seem to have given him the best reception. After being mobbed by reporters as soon as he arrived on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Santos was then photographed sitting alone during the long battle for House Republicans to elect a leader. However, as the week progressed, he was spotted having a friendly chat with another controversial House Republican, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
Republicans ultimately chose Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) to be Speaker of the House late Friday night, allowing members of Congress to be sworn in and officially seated.
Santos voted for McCarthy within 15 rounds.