U.S. Representative George Santos (R-NY) chats with his State of the Union guest and members of his staff as they prepare for the evening in Santos’s office on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. February 7, 2023.
Jonathan Ernst | Reuters
Embattled Republican Rep. George Santos of New York took a step Tuesday toward a possible bid for a second term in the House, where he is currently under investigation.
Santos’ campaign filed a statement of candidacy for the 2024 election cycle with the Federal Election Commission, a move that could signal the freshman lawmaker’s intent to run for reelection.
But the filing does not guarantee Santos, who has been denounced by some in his own party and embroiled in a flurry of investigations, will seek another term in Congress. After winning his seat, the New York Times reported that Santos appeared to have fabricated key details of his background. He later admitted to lying about his biography while he was campaigning for office.
Santos was required to file the form by Tuesday’s deadline in order to keep some of his campaign’s contributions that came after the 2022 cycle and continue fundraising. The FEC warned last month that Santos would either have to make a formal declaration of his candidacy or else “disavow” his fundraising activities.
“It does not necessarily mean he is running — it just means his campaign committee is raising money,” Brendan Quinn, senior communications manager for the Campaign Legal Center, told CNBC in an email.
Santos’ reelection plans remain opaque. He reportedly told New York Republican leaders late last year that he wouldn’t seek another term in office, but since entering Congress has adopted a more defiant tone and has reportedly started telling people he will run again.
“Rep. Santos’ campaign team has filed his statement of candidacy as required by the FEC,” Santos said in a statement shared with CNBC through a text from the congressman’s lawyer, Joseph Murray. “No further comments will be offered today.”
Santos was sworn into Congress under a cloud of scandal earlier this year, after the bombshell New York Times report questioned key details about his personal and professional life. Santos later admitted “embellishing” his resume but denied other wrongdoing. As Santos came under greater scrutiny, more damning accusations came out, including that he made off with funds that were raised for a disabled veteran’s dying dog and, most recently, that he was involved in a credit card skimming scheme. Santos has denied both allegations.
Earlier this month, the House Ethics panel appointed a subcommittee to investigate whether Santos engaged in unlawful campaign activity, and whether he violated federal conflict of interest laws. The subcommittee is also looking into an allegation of sexual misconduct by a former volunteer on his staff.
Santos has been inundated with calls for his resignation, including from top New York Republicans around Santos’ Nassau County-area congressional district and some GOP members of Congress. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who leads a slim Republican majority in his chamber, has not joined those calls.
Santos has vowed to serve out his full term, saying the voters of his district should get the final say on whether he stays in Congress or leaves. A Siena College poll conducted in January found that Santos’ constituents overwhelmingly want him to resign.
In the meantime, Santos has removed himself from the two House committees to which he was assigned until the “distraction” of the numerous investigations into his campaign and personal finances have subsided.