George Santos – The Washington Post

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Long Island Republican George Santos, who won a key U.S. House race in November, admitted Monday night that he embellished his resume, seeking to explain his actions by saying in a radio interview that “a lot of people say too much on their resumes.”

Santos downplayed the harm caused by his claims, first raised in the New York Times story Last week, he briefly addressed how his wealth has risen over the past several years to lend hundreds of thousands of dollars to his campaign.

He said City and State NY After different jobs, he started his own company, “It worked because I had connections and I started making a lot of money. I was basically starting to build wealth. And with that, he added, “I decided to invest in my race for Congress. There’s nothing wrong with that.” said.

In an interview with New York’s WABC radio, Santos said, “I’m sorry if I’ve misled anybody with the resume embellishment,” and he vowed, “I’ll be sworn in. I’ll be sworn in.”

Santos presented Interview Monday to the New York Post, which headlined him as a “liar” and quoted him as saying, “I’m not a criminal.” In that interview he said, contrary to his campaign biography, “I never graduated from any institution of higher learning.”

Last week, then The New York Times reports While questions have been raised about whether Santos fabricated much of his biography, Santos’ lawyer said the congressman was defamed, but did not provide specifics. Santos said he worked at Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, the Times noted. Spokespeople for both companies confirmed to The Post that they had no record of his employment.

During an 11-minute radio interview Monday, Santos said, “The way it says on the resume, the job — I’m not ‘on’ or ‘at’ or ‘in.'” He said he learned a lesson, but that doesn’t mean “I’m some fictional character.”

When Santos announced his bid in June 2021 New York’s 3rd District represents an affluent area of ​​Long Island’s North Shore, and he promised some candidates could run. If elected, he said In a campaign video, he promises, “I will never take a salary.”

He has loaned at least $580,000 to his campaign and at least $27,000 to his political action group, according to Federal Election Commission filings that show he is independently wealthy. The loans played a key role in his surprise victory and helped give Republicans a narrow majority in the House.

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In his first bid for the House, Santos said in a 2020 financial disclosure that he had no assets or earned income, citing only commissions worth more than $5,000.

But by the time Santos filed his 2022 financial disclosures, he declared he was worth millions of dollars, with most of the assets coming from a Florida company of which he was the sole owner: the DeVoltor Organization.

At one point, Santos He said on his campaign website Devolder was a private family company that had $80 million in assets under management that was later liquidated.

Documents filed with the Florida Secretary of State show that Santos organized the company in May 2021, a month before announcing his latest candidacy. A year later, on July 30, 2022, financial data firm Dun & Bradstreet estimated Devolder’s earnings to be $43,688.

That estimate, which was not previously disclosed, was based on Dun & Bradstreet’s “modeling” and “data science,” the company said in a statement to The Post. As a private company, Devolder is not required to publish financial statements.

However, on September 6, when Santos filed his financial disclosure statement with the Clerk of the US House, he said that the DeVoltor organization had given him millions of dollars. Santos said the DeVoltor organization paid him an annual salary of $750,000 for 2021 and 2022 and valued the company at $1 million to $5 million.

Asked in a radio interview about a report that he had spent $700,000 on his campaign, he responded: “That – the money I paid through my company, the Devolter system.”

Candidates must file accurate statements of their finances with the Clerk of the House. If a candidate knowingly files a false form, it violates several laws. According to to the nonpartisan Campaign Law Center.

Civil or criminal penalties may be pursued against a person who “knowingly and willfully falsifies” financial disclosure statements filed with the Attorney General. Instructional Guide by the House Ethics Committee in filing such reports. According to the guide, fines can reach up to $250,000 and up to five years in prison. The House may take “further action,” according to the guide.

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John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and a donor to Santos’ campaign, said during the interview: “So in other words, you’ve inflated your resume a little bit, but it’s not criminal.”

“No, no,” Santos replied. He later attacked the media for his claims. “John, you know, we live in a world now, and apparently I’m a closeted man who passes as gay.” Santos seems specific An article in the Daily BeastDivorce records filed two weeks before he launched his first bid for Congress in 2020 indicate he was previously married to a woman.

In a statement to The Post, New York Times spokesman Charlie Stadtlander said its “thoroughly researched and thoroughly fact-checked report speaks for itself. We stand unreservedly behind its publication.

In 2008, Santos faced criminal charges for check fraud while living in Brazil, which he later pleaded guilty to. The Times reported, citing that country’s court records. In recent years, he faced two evictions and lost a case in small claims court and was ordered to pay $5,000 plus interest after borrowing from a friend, the Times said. In the second article.

Additional questions have been raised about Santos’ claim of Jewish ancestry. In his initial campaign video, he called New York City a “Third World hellhole,” and Santos said, “My grandparents survived the Holocaust.”

Santos spoke to the Republican Jewish Coalition on November 19 said His grandfather escaped from Ukraine to Belgium and later immigrated to Brazil. A Report Jewish Insider questioned that claim last week, citing genealogists who said Santos’ maternal grandmother and grandfather were probably native Brazilians. A Jewish insider said Santos’ father was born in Brazil and has Angolan roots.

Asked in a radio interview if his grandparents were born in Brazil, Santos replied: “As far as I know, as far as I understand, no, they weren’t.” He told the New York Post that he was “obviously Catholic,” but that his grandmother was Jewish and converted to Catholicism.

A Santos spokesman did not respond to requests for comment before or after the radio interview.

Robert Zimmerman, the Democratic candidate who lost to Santos in the November general ElectionSantos told The Post that being misrepresented about his Jewish ancestry and his family’s survival in the Holocaust was “despicable and despicable.”

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“The fact that he would use the atrocity and tragedy — the death of 6 million Jews — for his own personal gain reflects how unfit he is for public office,” Zimmerman said.

“There are no excuses. There are no misunderstandings,” Zimmerman said Monday before Santos commented. “It’s nothing but vile, despicable behavior” that “manipulates and exploits unimaginable tragedy.”

On his website, Santos said: “After graduation, George Anthony began working as an associate at Citigroup and quickly advanced to associate asset manager in the firm’s real assets division.” “Then he was offered a wonderful opportunity with Goldman Sachs, but what he thought would be the pinnacle of his career did not materialize as he had hoped,” he added.

Santos downplayed any harm from his exaggerations. “A lot of people exaggerate on their resume or twist it a little bit or praise themselves,” Santos told WABC radio. “I’m not saying I’m not guilty of it, I’m just saying I’ve done a lot of good work in my life.”

Republicans are divided on how to handle the detailed allegations against Santos. Fred Zeidman, a GOP donor and member of the Republican Jewish Coalition’s board of directors, said he would like to see a response from other GOP leaders, such as House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California or officials at the Republican National Committee. A McCarthy spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

Zeidman, a former president of the US Holocaust Memorial Council, said he spoke with Santos at the RJC’s annual leadership meeting in November, where Santos highlighted his claims of Jewish ancestry. At the time, Zeidman was impressed but dismayed by reports that raised questions about Santos’ biography.

“I’m really torn because you don’t want to give up a seat in Congress to a Republican, and I’m not sure we can win it back. But I certainly think the Republican leadership has an obligation not to seat someone who is obviously a total phony.

Alice Crites contributed to this report.

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