Amid mounting calls for Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., to resign from Congress over the numerous lies he told about his biography, Rep. Ritchie Torres, D-N.Y., on Tuesday sent a letter to the Federal Election Commission urging the agency to investigate potential illegal activity surrounding the embattled Republican’s campaign finances.
“George Santos has essentially lied about every aspect of his life,” Torres said at a press conference on Long Island, which Santos represents in Congress. “He has essentially pretended to be a biracial Ukrainian-Belgian-Brazilian volleyball champion and brain cancer survivor whose mother died twice, including on 9/11, whose ancestors survived the Holocaust, whose employees died in the Pulse mass shooting, and who miraculously became a multimillionaire overnight.
“But even more appalling, alarming than his personal and political deception, it's his financial deception,” Torres said.
In its bombshell exposé exposing the lies about Santos's biography, the New York Times also raised questions about his finances, including that he lent more than $700,000 to his 2022 congressional campaign after reporting that he had earned only $55,000 in 2020.
“The $700,000 question is: Where did all the money come from?” Torres said.
"A decade ago, George Santos was a wage earner, accumulated thousands of dollars in debt and facing repeat eviction and apparently stealing scarves," Torres said. "And then miraculously, in 2021 and 2022, he reported earning millions of dollars."
In his financial disclosures, Santos reported a $750,000 salary and over $1 million in dividends in 2021 and 2022 from his company, the Devolder Organization. He once described Devolder as his “family’s firm,” and said it managed $80 million in assets.
But the company, which has no public website or LinkedIn page, is “shrouded in secrecy,” Torres said.
“Mr. Santos claims that he earned millions of dollars from clients, yet he has disclosed the names of none of those clients on his congressional financial disclosure, as required by federal law,” Torres said.
Last week, Torres and Rep. Dan Goldman, D-N.Y., filed a complaint with the House Ethics Committee against Santos for “failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports as required by law.”
Now Torres is asking the FEC to investigate the relationship between Santos, the Devolder Organization and Redstone Strategies, another mysterious company that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Santos but never registered with the FEC. “There's no public accounting of where those dollars went and how those dollars were spent,” Torres said.
Federal and local prosecutors are investigating Santos to see if any crimes were committed.
Last week, a defiant Santos said he would resign only if all the people who voted to elect him in New York's Third Congressional District in November asked him to.
"I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians,” Santos tweeted on Wednesday afternoon. "I will NOT resign!"
On Sunday, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., the new chair of the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, said Santos would be ousted from Congress if it is determined that he broke campaign finance laws.
"He's a bad guy. This is something that — it's really bad. He's not the first politician, unfortunately, to make it to Congress to lie," Comer said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
"He's going to be under strict ethics investigations, not necessarily for lying, but for his campaign finance potential violations," he continued. "So I think that Santos is being examined thoroughly. It's his decision whether or not he should resign; it's not my decision. But certainly, I don't approve of how he made his way to Congress.”
In a newly unearthed radio interview from 2020, Santos claimed he had been a volleyball star at Baruch College in New York and subsequently received two knee replacements. “That’s how serious I took the game,” he said. Baruch College has no record of his ever attending the school.
At Tuesday’s press conference, Torres elicited laughs when discussing the volume of the embattled congressman’s admitted lies.
“I cannot state with certainty whether his actual name is George Santos,” Torres said, adding: “All of these lies would be laughable if not for the fact that he's in the United States Congress.”