Scandal-plagued Rep. George Santos filed paperwork Tuesday with federal regulators formally declaring his 2024 candidacy.
The formal declaration does not mean that the embattled congressman has to pursue reelection. The Long Island Republican’s action follows a demand last month from the Federal Election Commission that he declare his intentions after he crossed a fundraising threshold that required him to file a statement of candidacy.
Last week, when asked by CNN’s Melanie Zanona whether he’d run for office again, Santos answered, “Maybe,” and acknowledged that some of his fellow Republicans had urged him not to seek reelection. But he said he was focused on his current job in Congress.
Santos, who has lied extensively about his resume, education and family background, faces federal and local investigations into his finances. A House Ethics Committee probe into whether he may have engaged in unlawful activity in his 2022 campaign appears to be ramping up, with the panel this week seeking more details about allegations against the congressman from a former perspective staffer.
Tuesday was the deadline for Santos to respond to federal regulators’ demand. The freshman has faced repeated questions about the accuracy of his campaign’s filings with the FEC and the identity of his treasurer.
Notably, his statement of candidacy said that he does not anticipate expending his personal funds on a reelection bid.
Some of the biggest questions around Santos’ campaign activity have centered on the financial windfall that allowed the Republican to report a personal loan of $705,000 to his successful 2022 campaign. In Santos’ previous, failed bid for Congress, in 2020, his personal financial disclosure form listed no assets and a salary of $55,000.
He has said he earned the money through his firm, The Devolder Organization, but he listed no Devolder clients on the financial disclosure he was required to file last year as a candidate.
The House Ethics Committee is asking the prospective Santos employee to provide details about his allegation that Santos sexually harassed him in January – and wants that information within the next two weeks, according to letters obtained by CNN.
The letters to Derek Myers show that the committee is stepping up its probe after formally announcing its investigation into Santos earlier this month.
The secretive panel has established an investigative subcommittee to probe a wide range of allegations against Santos. The investigators want Myers to preserve all relevant records and produce details about his alleged encounter by March 28, according to a letter signed by Ohio Rep. David Joyce, the Republican chairman, and Pennsylvania Rep. Susan Wild, the committee’s top Democrat.
In a complaint filed with the committee last month, Myers alleged that the New York Republican made an unwanted sexual advance toward him during a private encounter in his office and was later denied employment there. Santos has denied the claims, saying it’s a “comical” allegation with no merit.
The committee is seeking all documents Myers has to back up the claim, including information about their alleged January 25 interaction, when the prospective staffer alleged that Santos “touched” his groin and invited him to his house while noting his husband was out of town. Myers says he declined the alleged advance from the congressman and days later saw his job offer withdrawn, though he says he had begun work there voluntarily.
Myers told CNN last month that “there’s no corroborating evidence whatsoever.” He added: “It’s simply going to be his word against mine.”
In his initial complaint, Myers also asked the committee to probe the arrangement where he was allegedly working as a volunteer and whether that was allowed under House rules.
Santos’ office has said he would “fully cooperate” with the probe. The committee declined to comment on the letters.
This story has been updated with additional information.