The report concluded that there is "substantial evidence" that Santos, a New York Republican, "violated federal criminal laws" by misusing campaign funds for personal purposes and filing false campaign reports.
In a statement posted on the social media site X, Santos expressed his commitment to serving his constituents until he is allowed to do so. However, he stated that he will not seek a second term in 2024, citing the toll that constant press scrutiny has taken on his family.
The Ethics subcommittee, in its comprehensive 56-page report, uncovered a "complex web of unlawful activity" involving Santos' campaign, personal, and business finances. The report accuses Santos of fraudulently exploiting every aspect of his House candidacy for personal financial gain.
According to the report, Santos "blatantly stole from his campaign" and deceived donors into making contributions that were actually payments for his personal benefit. He also reported fictitious loans to his political committees to encourage further contributions, and then diverted more campaign funds to himself under the guise of repaying those loans. The report further alleges that Santos used his connections to high-value donors and other political campaigns to enrich himself, all while consistently lying to his constituents, donors, and staff about his background and experience.
The Ethics Committee's report also highlights Santos' financial mismanagement, revealing that he frequently found himself in debt, had a poor credit score, and relied on high-interest credit cards to fund his extravagant spending habits. The report alleges that Santos made large cash deposits without accounting for them and withdrew nearly a quarter of a million dollars in cash for unknown purposes.
The report specifically details numerous suspicious campaign expenditures that lacked a "campaign nexus." These expenditures included purchases at luxury stores like Hermes and Ferragamo, an Airbnb rental for a weekend getaway in the Hamptons, Botox treatments, and subscriptions to OnlyFans, a site often associated with hosting pornography.
The Ethics Committee has referred its findings, including "uncharged" conduct, to the Justice Department for further investigation. However, the committee did not make a recommendation to the House regarding Santos' expulsion.
Ethics Chairman Michael Guest, a Republican from Mississippi, plans to file a resolution to expel Santos from Congress on Friday morning. Democratic representatives Dan Goldman of New York and Robert Garcia of California have also stated their intention to file their own expulsion resolutions.
Santos has already been charged by the Department of Justice with multiple federal counts, including identity theft, money laundering, and theft of public funds. He is scheduled to go on trial in September and has pleaded not guilty.
The release of the Ethics Committee's report comes just days after Santos' former campaign fundraiser, Sam Miele, pleaded guilty to wire fraud. In his plea, Miele admitted to posing as former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's chief of staff while soliciting funds for Santos and charging donors' credit cards without authorization. However, Miele did not implicate Santos in his plea, and it remains unclear whether he is cooperating with the federal investigation into Santos.
Nancy Marks, Santos' former campaign treasurer, also pleaded guilty last month to charges that implicated Santos in wrongdoing. Marks admitted to falsifying campaign forms to secure matching funds that Santos was not entitled to. Information from Marks was used in last month's superseding indictment against Santos, and the Ethics Committee's report references emails and text exchanges between Marks and Santos that suggest Santos was aware of the scheme.
Despite mounting pressure, Santos has refused to resign, stating that he will "remain steadfast in fighting for [his] rights and defending [his] name in the face of adversity." He characterized himself as human with flaws but criticized those who have flaws themselves for casting stones at him.
The Ethics Committee noted that Santos did not cooperate with their investigation, providing only limited responses that included "misstatements" and "falsehoods."
Earlier this month, Santos survived an expulsion vote in the House, with 179 members voting in favor of expulsion, 213 against, and 19 voting present. Expulsion requires a two-thirds majority of lawmakers.
Santos' fellow New York Republicans, many of whom face challenging reelection campaigns next year, have been leading the charge to expel him. They have reiterated their calls for Santos to resign or be expelled, describing his conduct as not only unbecoming and embarrassing but also criminal.
The Ethics Committee chose not to subpoena Santos, determining that doing so could have delayed their investigation and that Santos' testimony would have had limited evidentiary value due to his admitted practice of embellishment.
The subcommittee investigating Santos, led by Reps. Dave Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, and Susan Wild, a Democrat from Pennsylvania, held nine meetings, authorized 37 subpoenas and 43 voluntary requests for information, and reviewed over 172,000 pages of documents.