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Opinion: Rep. Susan Wild has a role in Santos ethics probe

In what will certainly be one of the most watched U.S. House of Representatives committee investigations, one of our local representatives will have a key role in its proceedings.

The House Ethics Committee has begun an investigation into freshman Republican Rep. George Santos, the New York Republican congressman whose lies about his resume and personal life have made him the laughing stock of the 118th Congress.

U.S. Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., is the ranking minority party member on the panel. Rep. David Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, will chair the investigative subcommittee. In addition to him and Wild, other members are Reps. John Rutherford, a Florida Republican, and Glenn Ivey, a Maryland Democrat.

Wild’s legislative district includes all of Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties and several townships in Monroe County’s West End.

The committee is investigating whether Santos may have engaged in unlawful activity during his 2022 congressional campaign, whether he failed to properly disclose required information on statements filed with the House,

The committee is also tasked with determining whether Santos violated federal conflict of interest laws in connection with his role in a firm providing fiduciary services and whether he engaged in sexual misconduct involving a person seeking employment in his congressional offices.

“The Committee notes that the mere fact of establishing an Investigative subcommittee does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred,” Guest and Wild said.

The embattled Santos said he is “fully cooperating” with the investigation.

Santos has been on the defensive since The New York Times uncovered numerous untruths or outright fabrications of his background information that he used in his successful election campaign.

Ever since the disclosures, there have been numerous calls for Santos to resign, but he has refused and says he plans to complete his two-year term which began this past January.

The Ethics Committee can take many actions, from a letter of reprimand to recommending censure and a fine.

Santos, from Nassau County, says that everyone lies on their employment resumes. Although he has the statistics to back up such a claim, he has taken resume lying to the extreme. Almost daily, there is a new disclosure that Santos did not do or achieve the things he claims when he sought votes from his constituents.

Beyond that, he has denied some embarrassing events in his background even with pictorial proof to the contrary, including his denial of dressing in drag for a Brazilian festival when he lived there years ago. This flies in the face of his anti-gay stance put forward in the election and beyond. He then tried to pass off the episode as the actions of an over-exuberant youngster.

The truth is that lying on a resume happens a lot more than we might have thought. A survey several years ago found that about 80% of Americans have lied on their resumes, but just 21% were fired or disciplined after their falsehoods were discovered.

We might have expected the House party leadership to step in and say that such a discredited candidate is an embarrassment to his community, party, office and nation and needs to be at least censured, even removed, but House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said that since Santos was voted into office by his constituents, he deserves to remain in Congress despite the lies and fabrications he has committed.

It might come as a surprise, but lying on a resume or telling lies in public is not a crime unless it leads to fraud or other illegal activities. This is the case that the Nassau County District Attorney is pursuing. County leaders have urged Santos to resign, and a petition with thousands of signatures urging him to do so have not had an impact on the brash Santos.

In repeating that many enhance their resumes, Santos insists that he is not a “fraud,” but the truth is that he is. Many, including me, find it astounding that Santos made it all the way through the political process to become a member of Congress without the Republican leadership and the Democratic opposition sniffing out the many lies on his resume and in his statements.

By Bruce Frassinelli | tneditor@tnonline.com

The foregoing opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board or Times News LLC.