Embattled congressman and serial fabulist George Santos told his House Republican colleagues Tuesday that he would temporarily recuse himself from his committee assignments, amid ongoing investigations into his past behavior.
Santos was assigned seats on the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee.
A spokesperson for Santos has confirmed the news. “He has reserved to see it until he has been cleared up both campaign and personal financial investigations,” the spokesperson said.
Other Republican House members have also confirmed the news. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene told CNN the decision was Santos’s own: “He just felt like there was so much drama really over the situation, and especially what we’re doing to work to remove Ilhan Omar from the Foreign Affairs Committee.”
Santos, who appears to have fabricated the bulk of his background, is the target of multiple ethics probes and criminal investigations. Democrats and Republicans alike have called for him to resign. But House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who needs all the votes he can get as his party holds a razor-thin majority, refused to penalize Santos for his lies and instead seated him on two committees.
Santos has repeatedly insisted he has done “nothing wrong,” but said Tuesday in closed-door meetings that he would not sit on the committees.
The freshman congressman’s falsehoods range from bizarre—he says he was a volleyball star at Baruch College, which has no record of him attending—to unethical, including that his grandparents fled the Holocaust, his mother died in the 9/11 attacks, and some of his employees were killed in the Pulse nightclub shooting.
Santos is facing multiple ethics complaints with the House Ethics Committee and the Federal Election Commission. He is also under criminal investigation in Brazil for fraud and at the New York state and county levels into his background and finances.
A recent report by Mother Jones found that many of the donors listed on Santos’s campaign finances reports do not seem to exist.
Santos could even face a Department of Justice investigation into his financial issues, including his dramatic increase in reported wealth and income, and the hundreds of thousands of dollars he loaned his campaigns from personal accounts, a potential violation of campaign finance law.
Santos has remained mum about the issues plaguing him, though, giving evasive responses to the more out-there accusations but refusing to address his professional background, his finances, or his apparently nonexistent animal charity.