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Santos offers to co-sponsor bill that would prohibit him from profiting off lies if convicted

GOP Rep. Anthony D’Esposito of New York, who introduced the legislation this week, swiftly rejected Santos' offer.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Jan. 25, 2023.
Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., leaves a House GOP conference meeting on Jan. 25.Andrew Harnik / AP file

WASHINGTON — Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., offered Thursday to co-sponsor a Republican-backed bill that's designed to prevent him from profiting from fabrications on his résumé or biography if he is convicted of certain crimes.

GOP Reps. Anthony D'Esposito, Brandon Williams and Nicholas Lalota of New York announced the legislation this week. The No Fortune for Fraud Act would prevent members of Congress from financially profiting from any actions that violate the Federal Election Act of 1971 or any other offenses for which members may lose their pensions.

Santos offered Thursday in a letter to D’Esposito, the bill's lead sponsor, to officially sign on as a supporter and asked D’Esposito to join him on “other similar housekeeping legislation.”

Santos separately told NBC News that D'Esposito's measure is "a good bill" that’s about "good governance."

D’Esposito was the first House Republican to call for Santos to resign over revelations that he embellished his background and work experience as he was running for Congress.

Asked about D'Esposito, Santos said: "He’s acting like judge and jury, and I think that’s irresponsible. But on another lighter note, I think it’s a great bill that keeps government accountable. And I think the American people are sick and tired of seeing politicians coming here to enrich themselves. I ran on that platform."

Santos added that he plans to introduce some “good housekeeping bills ... that reflect the same kind of public trust for the American people.”

The bill has five co-sponsors — all New York Republicans — and Santos won't be joining the list, D'Esposito said.

Santos will “absolutely not” co-sponsor the bill, D'Esposito said in a brief interview Thursday, adding that Santos was the “poster child of not good governance.”

“I consider George Santos’ sponsorship of good government legislation about as seriously as Sam Bankman-Fried teaching a course in business ethics,” D’Esposito said in a separate statement, referring to a co-founder of the FTX cryptocurrency exchange, who is charged with cheating investors and causing billions of dollars in losses.

The back-and-forth is the latest plot twist as New York Republicans try to distance themselves from their scandal-plagued colleague — and Santos’ persistently refuses to step down or get out of their way.

D'Esposito, Williams and Lalota sharply criticized Santos when they introduced the legislation Tuesday.

“If you are defrauding the American people, if you are making a mockery out of the people’s House or violating campaign finance law, you should not be able to turn it into a payday,” D’Esposito said at the time. “Should fraudsters like George Santos be indicted or convicted of crimes listed in my legislation, our legislation, they won’t be able to make money from a book deal, a TV movie, ‘Dancing With the Stars’ or the next Netflix special.” 

Santos first came under widespread scrutiny after The New York Times published a bombshell investigation in December suggesting 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. He has also lied about how his mother was at the World Trade Center during the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

He faces several investigations at the state and federal levels, including one recently opened by the House Ethics Committee.