Molinaro Lights into Santos for Defrauding Voters

( – “Divorced from reality,” was how Republican New York Representative Marc Molinaro described fellow Republican New York Representative George Santos regarding the latter’s attitude and demeanor over allegations of violations of multiple federal laws.

The House of Representatives expelled Santos on Friday, December 1.

Federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York have slapped the New York congressman with a 13-count indictment last May accusing him of theft of public funds, making false statements to the House of Representatives, wire fraud, and money laundering. Additional charges were leveled against the congressman in October, bringing his total charges to 23. If convicted, Santos could face as much as 20 years behind bars.

Prosecutors led by U.S. Attorney Breon Peace, claim that Santos defrauded donors to his campaign, pocketing a significant amount of campaign donation and redirecting funds into his personal accounts, which he then used on luxury items and other personal expenses. He is also accused of providing multiple false statements regarding his financial assets to Congress, as well as submitting false claims in order to collect unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a statement to the press, Peace said that Santos committed “dishonesty and deception” on several occasions with the goal of being elected to Congress and enriching himself.

Santos is also facing other investigations by the FBI as well as authorities in Brazil. Santos has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

Speaking to reporters, Molinaro said that Santos “manufactured his entire life to defraud the voters”. Molinaro is among several representatives who called for and worked towards having Santos kicked out of Congress over his alleged criminal activities. While Santos has survived two prior attempts at expulsion, a report released by the House Ethics Committee presented evidence that support the charges leveled by prosecutors. As a result, many Republican lawmakers who previously supported Santos then said they would they would back initiatives to have Santos booted out of Congress. That may have been what pushed the expulsion past the finish line.

For his part, Santos called the Ethics Committee report “slanderous” and “unprecedented”, and said that he had no intention of stepping down from his post. Naturally, his stated intentions were moot after Congress gave Santos the boot.

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