George Santos is a Republican politician from Long Island, New York, who was recently elected to represent New York’s 3rd Congressional District. Santos, 34, has admitted to embellishing his work and educational resume. He also allegedly misled people into believing he was Jewish.
New York’s 3rd Congressional District covers the cities of Oyster Bay, Smithtown, Rye, Glen Cove, North Hempstead, Mamaroneck, Pelham, and New Rochelle.
In his initial campaign video, Santos said, “my grandparents survived the Holocaust.”
On Nov. 19, while addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition, Santos said that his grandfather fled Ukraine for Belgium and then immigrated to Brazil.
He has publicly referred to himself as “half Jewish” and a “Latino Jew.” During his campaign, he wrote in a position paper obtained by the nonprofit Jewish news website Forward that he was “a proud American Jew.”
He has since said, he had “never claimed to be Jewish” but had rather asserted he was “Jew-ish,” Politico reported.
But a report last week by Jewish Insider cited genealogists who said Santos’s maternal grandmother and grandfather were probably native Brazilians. Santos now says he is “clearly Catholic” but that his grandmother had said she was Jewish and converted to Catholicism.
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His heritage isn’t the only thing Santos seems to have fudged. The New York Times recently raised questions about the truth Santos’ campaign biography. In it, Santos claimed that he worked for Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Spokesmen for both companies confirmed to The Washington Post that they had no record of his employment.
Santos has admitted in a series of interviews that he lied about graduating from college and working for Citigroup or Goldman Sachs. He also acknowledged owing thousands of dollars in unpaid rent, but he denied committing a crime anywhere in the world, although a New York Times report says the contrary. According to the newspaper, while in Brazil in 2008 a 19-year-old Santos stole the checkbook of a man his mother was caring for. Brazilian court records uncovered by The Times claimed Santos used the checkbook to make fraudulent purchases. Santos reportedly later confessed to the crime and was charged.
He did admit he did make a “résumé embellishment.” In a WABC radio interview on Dec. 26, he pushed off his actions by saying that “a lot of people overstate in their résumés.”
Santos said, “If I disappointed anyone by my résumé embellishment, I’m sorry,” and he vowed that “I will be sworn in. I will take office.”
He added that, contrary to his campaign biography, “I didn’t graduate from any institution of higher learning.”
Also under question is his wealth, which skyrocketed in the past several years to enable him to lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign.
He lent his campaign at least $580,000, and his political action committee at least $27,000, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
In his first campaign for the House in 2020, his financial disclosure showed had no assets or earned income, and he only cited a commission worth more than $5,000. But on his 2022 financial disclosure, he said he was worth millions of dollars, with most of the wealth coming from a Florida company he owned, the Devolder Organization. According to his campaign website, Devolder was a privately held family firm that had $80 million in assets under management. The claim that has since been removed.
Santos launched the company in May 2021, one month before he declared his latest candidacy. A little more than a year later, on July 30, 2022, the financial data company Dun & Bradstreet estimated that Devolder had a revenue of only $43,688, not millions.
However, on Sept. 6, his financial disclosure report with the clerk of the U.S. House said the Devolder Organization paid him an annual salary of $750,000 in 2021 and 2022, and that the company was worth between $1 million and $5 million.
Santos’ election helped give Republicans a narrow majority in the House. And now the GOP has been silent on the scandal, The New York Times reported.
Rep.-elect George Santos, R-New York, speaks at an annual leadership meeting of the Republican Jewish Coalition, Nov. 19, 2022, in Las Vegas. Santos, who won a seat in Congress in the November election is under pressure to explain himself amid evidence that he fabricated parts of the life story that endeared him to New York voters. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)