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Federal prosecutors open investigation into Rep.-elect George Santos over congressional campaign

The New York Republican has admitted that large parts of his campaign biography were fabricated.
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Federal prosecutors in New York have opened an investigation into Rep.-elect George Santos, two law enforcement sources confirmed Thursday.

The probe by federal prosecutors from the Eastern District of New York is at least the second investigation into Santos, a Republican, who acknowledged this week that he had fabricated and "embellished" several claims about his background involving his education and work history.

The investigation is said to be in its very early stages, and it has not zeroed in on any one allegation of wrongdoing yet. The two sources confirmed that prosecutors are examining Santos’ finances, including potential irregularities involving financial disclosures and loans he made to his campaign as he was running for Congress.

Danielle Hass, a spokesperson for the U.S. attorney for Eastern New York, declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Santos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

ABC News first reported the federal investigation.

Santos is also being investigated by the Nassau County district attorney. The focus of that probe is unclear at the moment, but DA Anne T. Donnelly in a statement Wednesday said the "numerous fabrications and inconsistencies associated with Congressman-Elect Santos are nothing short of stunning."

“No one is above the law and if a crime was committed in this county, we will prosecute it,” said Donnelly, a Republican.

Last week, the New York attorney general’s office said it was “looking into a number of issues” surrounding Santos. It did not confirm whether it had opened an official investigation.

Questions about Santos' background came to light this month when The New York Times published a bombshell investigation indicating that much of his résumé appeared to have been manufactured, including claims that he owned numerous properties, was previously employed by Goldman Sachs and Citigroup and had graduated from Baruch College.

The report also raised questions about how Santos was able to lend his 2022 campaign $700,000 after having claimed on a campaign finance form in 2020 that he was making $55,000 a year.

In a number of media appearances this week, Santos acknowledged but downplayed the fabrications. He told the New York Post in an interview Monday: “My sins here are embellishing my résumé. I’m sorry.”

Santos' campaign filings indicated he made millions of dollars in 2021, and he told the news site Semafor in an article published Wednesday that he made his money legitimately through his company's “capital introduction” business.

Separately, the news outlet The Forward had questioned a claim on Santos’ campaign website that his grandparents “fled Jewish persecution in Ukraine, settled in Belgium, and again fled persecution during WWII.” The outlet also noted that Santos had called himself a “proud American Jew” in a position paper that was shared with Jewish and pro-Israel leaders during his campaign.

In his interview with the Post, Santos said, “I never claimed to be Jewish.”

“I am Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish,’” he added.

Some House Democrats have called on Santos to resign. Republican House leaders — including Kevin McCarthy of California, who is fighting to become speaker in the new Congress with a razor-thin GOP majority — have not responded to requests for comment.

Nick LaLota, a fellow newly elected Republican House member from New York, said in a statement Tuesday that he believed "a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee and, if necessary, law enforcement, is required. New Yorkers deserve the truth, and House Republicans deserve an opportunity to govern without this distraction."