(WASHINGTON) — The House Ethics Committee will not recommend any punishment for embattled New York Republican Rep. George Santos in a public report it plans to release later this week after a monthslong investigation, Chairman Michael Guest said Wednesday.
Instead, the panel will release its evidence and details of its work for members to review and make their own conclusion about whether Santos should be removed from Congress, Guest, a Mississippi Republican, said.
An investigative subcommittee has contacted at least 40 witnesses, reviewed 170,000 pages of documents and authorized more than three dozen subpoenas as part of its investigation into whether Santos “engaged in unlawful activity” in his 2022 House campaign.
In rare public comments about his committee’s work, Guest said that recommending action against Santos — such as expulsion — would’ve required a “much longer process.”
“The investigative subcommittee decided that they were going to compile the report, they would release the report to the, to the members, into the public, and based upon that, then our members can take whatever action that they felt necessary,” Guest said.
Ahead of the report’s expected release, Santos sounded defiant and reiterated to ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Rachel Scott that he isn’t stepping down, having previously survived a vote for his expulsion.
“Like I said before, I’m staying in office for sure,” he said. “I will take whatever comes my way, the way it comes.”
Santos pleaded not guilty last month to a 23-count federal indictment including identity theft, wire fraud and lying to federal election officials.
He has separately been at the center of a string of controversies over exaggerations and lies he told about his background, though he has characterized those as more routine embellishments. He has also denied some of the claims, such as being accused of misappropriating money raised for a veteran’s sick dog.
Several other New York Republican members, having led the charge to remove Santos from Congress earlier this month, said Wednesday that they plan to push for his ouster once against when the House returns from the Thanksgiving recess.
“The substance in the report will drive other members to get to yes,” Rep. Nick LaLota told Scott.
Said Rep. Marc Molinaro: “The report is going to affirm and confirm what we already know: George Santos is a fraud; he should not be a member of Congress.”
In a speech defending himself ahead of the expulsion vote in early November, Santos said, “I’m fighting tooth and nail to clear my name in front of the entire world, Mr. Speaker. It hasn’t been easy, but I’m fighting by God’s grace.”
ABC News’ John Parkinson contributed to this report.
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