- An NYT report found that at least part of the GOP was aware of Rep. George Santos’ lies.
- Santos has faced calls to resign after lying about key details of his past.
- “I guess unfortunately we’re relying on the person to tell us the truth,” the Nassau County GOP chairman told The Times.
GOP members have largely ignored red flags regarding newly sworn in Rep. George Santos, according to a Friday report from The New York Times.
The 34-year-old congressman has drawn a lot of attention after admitting to lying about key parts of his background – including his previous work experience, education and Jewish ancestry.
The Nassau County Republican Party in New York accepted his fabricated resume and false answers to a vetting questionnaire from Santos when it sought his candidacy in 2020.
“I guess unfortunately we’re relying on the person to tell us the truth,” GOP County Chairman Joseph G. Cairo Jr. told The Times.
According to the Times, Santos hired an anonymous Washington research firm to conduct a vulnerability study as part of his campaign towards the end of 2021. The purpose of the research was to identify potential issues that his rivals could use against him when applying.
In the case of Santos, the report revealed that the two degrees he claimed to have were a sham, that he had a connection to a company accused of operating a Ponzi scheme, that he had been repeatedly expelled , that he had a suspended license and was once married to a woman while claiming to be openly gay.
Members of his campaign encouraged him to drop out of the race after the report was sent to them in December 2021, but when he refused most of his team quit, The Times reported.
However, there have been several instances where members of the state and national Republican Party have been made aware of Santos’ dishonesty, according to the Times.
Those who were aware of Santos’ deceptions include a former Santos adviser who told an unnamed Republican official and a newspaper that declined to publicize Santos’ involvement in Harbor City Capital, the company accused of a scheme of Ponzi, in the summer of 2021; a political donor who spoke out about her distrust of Santos to Rep. Elise Stefanik after Santos baselessly claimed to have the endorsement of former President Donald Trump; and Dan Conston, an ally of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who told donors and others close to him that he feared Santos was a fraud, according to the Times.
“But in each case, rather than publicly denouncing Mr. Santos, Republicans looked the other way. They neglected to draw the attention of more powerful leaders or replenish flashes of doubt about him, and allowed him to run unopposed in the 2022 primary,” the Times reported, adding that some Republicans thought Santos was just sprucing up his resume while others thought Democrats would air his dirty laundry during the election.
But the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee did not act on red flags when reviewing Rep. George Santos because researchers were cluttered with other research on dozens of other candidates, according to the Times. In August 2022, the committee issued a press release discussing Santos’ support for the January 6, 2021, uprising and the overthrow of Roe v. Wade in an attempt to persuade voters not to vote for him, but did not did not bring to light the lies about his background.
His political opponents, like Dem. incumbent Rep. Tom Suozzi chose not to prioritize spending his campaign money to dig up his track record. And, as The Times reported, Santos’ lies went unchecked largely because of a struggling media industry that had neither the time nor the resources to delve into his candidacy.
“Nobody knew George Santos, and he had less than $50,000 in campaign funds against a popular incumbent who never even said his name,” Kim Devlin, an adviser to Suozzi, told The Times. “We didn’t give anything to the press because why would we give him any press?”
Santos faced multiple calls to resign but remained firm in his belief to complete his term despite the deception of 142,000 voters.
Santos did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.