WASHINGTON — Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., on Thursday offered to co-sponsor a new Republican-backed bill that’s designed to prevent him from profiting off of fabrications to his résumé or biography if convicted of certain crimes.
New York GOP Reps. Anthony D’Esposito, Brandon Williams and Nicholas Lalota unveiled the legislation earlier this week. The No Fortune For Fraud Act would prevent members of Congress from financially profiting off any actions they engaged in that violate the Federal Election Act of 1971, or any other offenses for which members may lose their pension.
In a letter to D’Esposito, the bill’s lead sponsor, Santos on Thursday offered 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 the measure introduced by D’Esposito is “a good bill” that’s about “good governance.”
D’Esposito was the first House Republican to call for Santos’ resignation over revelations that the first-term lawmaker embellished his background and work experience while 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 currently has five co-sponsors — all New York Republicans — but Santos won’t be joining that 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.
The back-and-forth represents the latest plot twist in the attempts of New York Republicans to distance themselves from their scandal-plagued colleague — and Santos’ persistent refusals to step down or get out of their way.
D’Esposito, Williams and Lalota sharply criticized Santos when they introduced their legislation on 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 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.
The New York congressman faces several investigations at the state and federal level, including one recently opened by the House Ethics Committee.
Kyle Stewart and Liz Brown-Kaiser contributed.